DENVER (AP) — Charlie Blackmon hit a tiebreaking three-run homer, Austin Gomber pitched six strong innings and the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Blackmon’s 14th homer capped a four-pitch rally off right-hander Mike Clevinger that turned the game in the sixth inning. Connor Joe was hit by the first pitch of the inning, and Jose Iglesias dropped a single into right field on the third pitch. Blackmon then hit a changeup for a 392-foot homer on the fourth for a 4-1 lead.
“We kind of exploded there,” said Colorado third baseman Ryan McMahon, whose one out double KOd Clevinger two batters later.
Blackmon had two hits in his third straight multi-hit game. He is 7 for 16 with four extra-base hits and five RBIs in his last four games, and he already has one more homer this season than he had in 150 games a year ago.
“I practiced hitting more home runs this offseason,” Blackmon said before explaining. “I used to take more swings hitting balls to the opposite-field gap, which I think is important. But this offseason, I worked just as much on the pull gap as I did on the away gap.
“Pulling the ball is the best. In a perfect world, I would put the ball somewhere where I could pull it."
Gomber (5-7) permitted one run and six hits. Daniel Bard pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
“I wouldn't say I had my best stuff, but the curveball was working,” said Gomber, who said he abides by a lesson learned from former St. Louis teammate Adam Wainwright. “He was adamant to all of the young guys to not get scared to throw the curveball here. That has always stuck with me.”
Clevinger (2-2) retired his first eight batters before Sam Hilliard doubled with two outs in the third. It was the Rockies’ only hit until they tied the game on Garrett Hampson’s two-out single in the fifth.
Hilliard reached on a three-base error when center fielder Trent Grisham couldn't handle his deep fly to the warning track with one out in the seventh inning, and he beat third baseman Manny Machado’s throw home on Iglesias’s slow roller for a 5-1 lead.
The Padres got two runs in the eighth but ran themselves out of a bigger inning. With runners on first and second, Luke Voit was thrown out at third by Hilliard attempting to tag up on a fly to deep left field. Nomar Mazara and Esteury Ruiz followed with RBI singles, and Ruiz was thrown out attempting to steal third to end the inning.
“We can't play that sloppy, and we did tonight,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “It cost us the game. Responsibility is on me.”
TATIS JR. UPDATE
San Diego star Fernando Tatis Jr. had another scan on his left wrist Monday, and doctors met Tuesday to discuss the results before plotting the next step in Tatis’ return.
Tatis has been throwing and doing conditioning work for some time. When he is cleared, he will begin a hitting progression that will lead to facing live pitching, a process that could take 10 days.
“I know he is going a little bit stir crazy without the at-bats,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Tatis Jr. has not played this season after getting hurt in a December motorcycle accident.
PADRES PROMOTE SPEEDSTER RUIZ
Ruiz singled in his first major league at-bat. The speedy outfielder went 2 for 4 after being promoted from Triple-A El Paso on Tuesday.
Ruiz had 13 homers and a minor league-high 60 stolen bases in 77 games at Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso.
“We felt this was the time to bring him up and let him go,” Melvin said. “It gives us a little different dynamic. Early in the season we were running a little bit more with some success. We have been a little big stagnant offensively here recently.”
Outfielder Brent Rooker was optioned to El Paso to make room on the roster.