He hit a two-run homer with two out in the 10th inning to give
the Rockies an 8-6 win over the San Diego Padres in the rubber game
of their series.
After first baseman and franchise icon Todd Helton retired, the
Rockies signed free agent Morneau to a two-year, $12.5 million
contract to play the position, confident he could still hit for
power and be a force in their lineup. The game-winning home run
Morneau hit on a 3-2 fastball from Dale Thayer was Morneau's ninth
of the season and gave him 32 RBIs to go along with a .327 average.
Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez grounded a single to right with one out
off Thayer before Morneau connected for his sixth career walk-off
homer and the Rockies' second this season. He fouled off Thayer's
3-1 fastball before launching his next pitch over the center field
"There are certain times where you really need to drive the ball,"
Morneau said. "That was one of those cases, two outs, runner's
going. Just looking for something to drive. Got almost the same
pitch that I missed the 3-1 pitch. It was good not to miss it
Thayer said, "It was down, but it was not on the corner. I didn't
think it was going out at first. But it doesn't surprise me it went
out. He hit it hard. I just didn't think it was high enough."
The winning pitcher was Nick Massett, who retired the side in order
on five pitches in the 10th and recorded his first win with the
After converting his first 10 save opportunities, LaTroy Hawkins
blew his first when he gave up a two-run homer to shortstop Everth
Cabrera with one out in the ninth that tied the game at 6. Will
Venable began the inning with a double off the wall in right.
Gonzalez's two-out single in the seventh put the Rockies ahead 6-4.
His hit came after shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, batting after right
fielder Charlie Blackmon and Drew Stubbs opened the inning with
singles to put runners on first and third, reached second as he hit
into a 6-4-2-5 fielder's choice.
A four-run third enabled the Rockies to build a three-run lead. The
Padres got within 4-3 and 5-4, but each time, the Rockies added a
run to go ahead by two.
"This was a game that was in the balance the whole way," Padres
manager Bud Black said. "Both teams kept pecking away at each other
the whole game, which is typical of this ballpark."
Catcher Rene Rivera's homer with two out in the sixth cut the
Rockies lead to 5-4. That was the final inning for Juan Nicasio, who
also gave up a solo homer to Seth Smith in the first but went at
least six innings in consecutive starts for the first time this
Tulowitzki led off the fifth with his 13th homer, putting the
Rockies ahead 5-3 after the Padres cut the lead to 4-3 with a
The Rockies pulled off the third triple play in franchise history in
the third and then rallied for four runs in their half of the inning
to go ahead 4-1. Catcher Wilin Rosario flared a single to center,
and second baseman DJ LeMahieu followed with an infield single.
[to top of second column]
After a sacrifice by Nicasio, Blackmon singled home two runs, and
Corey Dickerson hit a two-run homer, his fifth home run of the
season. That proved to be the final inning for Donn Roach, a
reliever who made his first major league start in place of injured
Andrew Cashner. Roach was on a limit of about 60 pitches and
finished with 46. He walked the first two batters he faced, but each
ended up being caught stealing as a result of two successful
challenges by Black that also enabled Roach to find his footing
until the four-run third.
Venable pinch hit for Roach in the fourth and singled home two runs
to trim Colorado's lead to 4-3.
The Rockies hit into a 5-4-3 triple play in the third on a grounder
hit by Carlos Quentin to third baseman Nolan Arenado. He ran to the
base to force Cabrera and threw to LeMahieu to force Smith. Quentin
beat LeMahieu's throw but was ruled out because Smith, sliding wide
of second base and toward LeMahieu, grabbed his leg and was called
Morneau's homer was his fifth of the season at Coors Field, where he
is batting .354 (28-for-79) with 18 RBIs.
"Justin came up big obviously at the end there," Rockies manager
Walt Weiss said. "Really happy for him. He's having a phenomenal
season. He's impacted our club in many different ways. Great to see
him get the big hit."
NOTES: Padres manager Bud Black successfully challenged two safe
calls by second-base umpire Seth Buckminster on stolen-base attempts
by the Rockies in the first. Blackmon was ruled out after a review
of 47 seconds, and Dickerson was ruled out after a 1-minute,
10-second review. ... Rockies C Wilin Rosario (viral infection) was
activated from the 15-day disabled list, and C Michael McKenry was
optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. In eight games, five starts,
McKenry hit .211 (4-for-19) with two doubles and one RBI. ... RF
Michael Cuddyer (left hamstring strain) went 0-for-1 with a walk and
played three innings at first base Sunday in a rehab game at
Triple-A Colorado Springs. He is scheduled to be activated Tuesday.
... Padres RHP Donn Roach, a reliever starting in place of injured
RHP Andrew Cashner, batted eighth. It was the first time a Padres
pitcher batted eighth since June 19-21, 2009 against Oakland when
Wade LeBlanc, Walter Silva and Kevin Correia did it in that series.
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