Monday, May 19, 2014
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Morneau Homers In 10th To Give Rockies Win Over Padres

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[May 19, 2014]  DENVER -- Justin Morneau paid another huge early-season dividend Sunday for the Colorado Rockies, his biggest yet, really.

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 wall.

"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 again."
 


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 Rockies.

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 season.

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 two-run fourth.

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.

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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 for interference.

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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