DENVER — The Padres won a game in extra innings in San Francisco on Thursday night and got to their hotel here around 5:30 a.m. Friday.
After some daytime sleeping, they went to the ballpark and got dressed and warmed up and participated in a pregame ceremony to commemorate the Rockies' home opener and then waited through a weather delay that never even threatened to feature any foul weather.
The game started 35 minutes late.
The Padres started their game six innings later.
They fell behind, took a lead, lost it, tied the game, fell behind again and then scored four runs with two outs in the ninth and held on to win 8-7 despite Kirby Yates not being able to survive the bottom of the inning.
Fernando Tatis Jr.'s solo home run just into the left-field bleachers off Rockies closer Wade Davis tied the game. Davis then walked Trent Grisham and intentionally walked Manny Machado. Tommy Pham made him pay by sending a full-count fastball 440 feet into the same left field seats to give the Padres an 8-5 lead.
Yates allowed three hits and walk to surrender a run and load the bases before walking Ryan McMahon to bring in another run. That brought manager Jayce Tingler out to remove Yates and insert Drew Pomeranz. The lefty nailed down his second save of the season by getting pinch-hitter Chris Owings on a fly ball to center field.
So it goes when baseball is played a mile high.
The assessment of a slow start by the Padres should not take anything away from the rarest of all events, a pitching duel for most of six innings at Coors Field between Jon Gray and Garrett Richards.
It was simply a different kind of game for the Padres, as they aggressively went after the strikes Gray was throwing.
They still hit the ball hard. They were still selective. They just weren't getting on base.
But they kept working, they eked a few hits, they played smart and they got fortunate.
Jake Cronenworth led off the sixth inning with the third hit, and Trent Grisham drew the Padres' first walk of the night.
Manny Machado, who in his first two at-bats had scorched a groundout at 103 mph and been robbed by a diving David Dahl on a line drive to the gap in right-center in the fourth, then hit a 2-2 change-up off the thin part of his bat the other way into right field at a mere 69 mph for an RBI single.
That moved Grisham to third base, and he scored when Trevor Story ran through Pham's apparent double-play grounder. Machado went to third on that play and scored on a wild pitch.
The Padres will wake up rested Saturday at least in a tie with the Dodgers atop the National League West. The Rockies entered the game 4-1, a half-game up on the 5-2 Padres and Dodgers.
"The Padres are off to a good start as well," Rockies manager Bud Black said before game. "... They are playing with a lot of confidence. They are throwing the ball well. Their offense is much improved. Granted, it's early, but they've got some new faces in there that have kind of changed the dynamic of how they take their at-bats. This is going to be a good series. It really is. Two teams that feel as though they are playoff teams and can battle the Dodgers as defending champions."
The Padres did, indeed, arrive in Colorado playing differently than anyone had seen from them in some time. They were hitting the ball hard (fifth in the majors with an average exit velocity of 89.5 mph), being selective (second in the majors with a 21.5% chase rate) and getting on base (second in the majors with a .346 on-base percentage).
In Coors Field, of all places, doing those things didn't work out right away Friday.
Cronenworth's two-out triple in the third inning and Josh Naylor's single past Arenado in the fourth accounted for the Padres' only hits off Gray through five innings.
Gray is an anomaly among pitchers, with a lower ERA at Coors Field (4.36) than on the road (4.52) entering Friday's game.
Richards got welcomed to his first career game at Coors Field, when Charlie Blackmon sent a hanging slider 446 feet to right center field to give the Rockies a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
It was just the second home run allowed by a Padres starter in 40 1/3 innings this season.
Otherwise, Richards continued the excellent beginning to the season by the Padres' rotation, which entered Friday's game with the best ERA in the National League (2.08). He scattered eight hits over 5 2/3 innings, which is difficult to do at Coors Field, where the massive dimensions often get a pitcher if the thin air doesn't.
He left with runners on first and second and two out in the sixth. Matt Kemp, pinch-hitting for Raimel Tapia, laced the first pitch from Matt Strahm into left field to give the Rockies a 4-3 lead.
Francisco Mejia, pinch-hitting for Austin Hedges, lined a one-out single up the middle in the top of the seventh. It was the first hit by either of the Padres catchers in 26 at-bats this season.
Mejia moved to second on a groundout by Cronenworth and scored on Tatis' single to right.
Trevor Story put the Rockies up 5-4 with a solo homer off Strahm in the seventh.
(c)2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune
Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
PHOTOS (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194):