Rockies rise early, hold on despite Padres’ 3 home runs and 11 walks

The air was cleared from Petco Park on Monday.

A trio of home runs and a bunch of walks bloated him for brief periods, but the Padres offense couldn’t overcome an early deficit and lost 5-4 to the Rockies.

“Usually you get 11 walks and that puts you in a pretty good position,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “I just couldn’t enjoy this great success. So, you know, it just wasn’t an opportunity for us to be able to qualify at the big time.

The Padres were hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position and failed to score despite a runner on second base with fewer than two outs in each of the final three innings.

“(Journal), man,” Fernando Tatis Jr. said. “We had so many chances. We just couldn’t take it.

A weekend series against the Dodgers sometimes felt like the playoffs were coming early. Great pitching, especially from the Padres’ starters, helped the Padres earn a series victory against one of the best teams in baseball.

But the giant crowds — more people than ever before in a three-game set at the ballpark — gave way to a relatively paltry 34,458 Monday for the first game of a series against one of the worst teams in the major leagues.

The Rockies came in playing pretty well and took it against the Padres, dropping hits all over the place and running effectively against Randy Vásquez to take an early lead to their fifth straight victory.

Addresses pitcher Randy Vasquez was removed from the game in the fourth inning.

(KC Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Homers helped the Padres stay there. Their inability to enjoy the walks prevented them from completing their ascent.

They got a solo homer from Xander Bogaerts, which tied the game 1-1 in the second inning, and a two-run homer from Jurickson Profar that made it 5-3 in the sixth. It was two of their three hits against Rockies starter Dakota Hudson, who was 1-6 with a 6.35 ERA.

Jackson Merrill’s solo homer in the top of the seventh, against Jake Bird, brought the Padres within one run. And Luis Campusano and Ha-Seong Kim’s subsequent walks had Petco briefly buzzing with anticipation.

But Rockies manager Bud Black replaced Bird with Justin Lawrence, and the right-hander threw three pitches to end the inning – on a double-play groundout by Luis Arraez and a groundout by Tatis.

The Padres didn’t get another hit, although they did draw six more walks.

The walks energized the crowd again in the bottom of the eighth, as Lawrence threw three to load the bases.

Jake Cronenworth led off the inning with a walk, and Profar followed a line drive from Manny Machado to right center with a walk. After Bogaerts struck out, Merrill walked to load the bases. And after getting to 3-0 and taking a strike, Campusano delivered a soft liner to Doyle in center field that ended the inning.

Against Jalen Beeks in the ninth, Ha-Seong Kim drew a leadoff walk and Tatis and Cronenworth drew one-out walks before Machado grounded into a game-ending double play on the first pitch that he saw.

Certainly, the offensive performance could be deplored. But the game also followed a familiar pattern.

Jackson Merrill and Fernando Tatis Jr. can’t play on a pop-up from the Rockies’ Ezequiel Tovar.

(KC Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

For all the angst over Bogaerts’ collapse and occasional bullpen implosion, the Padres’ biggest obstacle to victory has often been their starting pitchers.

The rotation was great for stretching. One such example was the four games leading up to Monday, a series in which the Padres’ starters all went at least five innings while allowing two hits or fewer, something that hadn’t been done in at least 131 years .

But the starters also experienced a worrying number of snaps.

And when that happens, the Padres usually don’t win.

The Padres are 3-13 when their starting pitcher allows four or more runs. The 16 total games in which their starters have given up that many runs ranks fourth in the majors.

Before their recent winning streak, the Rockies were 8-28, the worst record in MLB. Their record of 13-28 remains better than that of the Marlins (11-32) and the White Sox (12-29).

Jurickson Profar hits a two-run homer in the sixth inning.

(KC Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Rockies No. 8 hitter Elehuris Montero singled in the first to drive in Brenton Doyle, who walked and stole second base. Montero’s double in the fourth scored Brendan Rodgers and Jake Cave, who had singled. Two-out RBI singles from Charlie Blackmon and Ezequiel Tovar followed. Blackmon’s hit scored Montero, and Blackmon stole second to put himself in scoring position on Tovar’s single, which ended Vasquez’s night after 3⅔ innings.

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