Rockies use 6-run outburst in 8th inning to rally past Padres, 9-5

Raimel Tapia's two-run single in the eighth helped the Rockies rally to beat the Padres. - Jen Mac Ramos

If you were looking for Tyler Chatwood to dominate, you’d be disappointed.

He did well to show progress as he continues his long road back from Tommy John surgery, but was far from domination this early in spring training. Chatwood averaged 92.04 mph on his 27 fastballs (13 balls, 14 strikes), topping out at 94 mph multiple times throughout his start. He threw three curveballs (two balls, one strike) that averaged 75 mph, and one changeup (strike) that registered 83 mph. He started quick, retiring the Padres’ first three hitters including a swinging strikeout by Cory Spangenberg.

The offense wasted a great opportunity to pile on damage to a shaky first inning for Tyson Ross. Ross was able to work around a Charlie Blackmon walk by striking out Trevor Story and watching Blackmon get cut down at second trying to steal all on one 3-2 pitch. Carlos Gonzalez was then erased after hitting a screamer to Cory Spangenberg at second base.

It was in the second that Chatwood started to struggle. Yangervis Solarte led off with a hard line-drive single down the right field line. Rule 5 pickup Jabari Blash then walked to put runners at first and second. Chatwood was able to strike out Brett Wallace, but followed that with another free pass to Hunter Renfroe to load the bases. Steve Foster raced to the mound to calm a frustrated Chatwood after watching pitches he thought were very close called balls. Christian Bethancourt wasted no time by driving the first pitch he saw for a long sacrifice fly to right field to score the Padres’ first run of the game. Chatwood recovered to force Jemile Weeks into groundout. Chatwood gave up one earned run on one hit and two walks, while grabbing two strikeouts.

The Rockies were fortunate to start each of their first three innings with leadoff base runners, but none of them would come around to score as Colorado grounded into two double plays in addition to the strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out in the first inning. The Rockies worked deep counts throughout the game, leading to six walks.

If you were looking for Yohan Flande to be mediocre, you’d be disappointed. Pitching two innings, Flande was able to get ahead of hitters quickly with all of his pitches which led to him putting away four of the six Padres he faced with strikeouts. His appearance was very clean, giving up no runs, hits, or walks in the third and fourth innings.

Unlike Flande, Jairo Diaz struggled. Working in the mid 90s with his fastball, Diaz gave up three earned runs on three hits and three walks. Early on, it appeared Diaz was working his slider as he threw quite a few of those. Nevertheless, Diaz was pulled after throwing eight straight balls to end his appearance. Gonzalez German was able to put out Diaz’s fire with a strikeout to end the fifth.

The Rockies' first run came in the fourth inning after a Story base on balls, a bloop double from Gonzalez, and a deep sacrifice fly from Nolan Arenado. The mass substitutions would tack on two runs in the seventh. Mike Tauchman came around to score after he singled, Dom Nunez walked, and Ben Paulsen slashed a hit-and-run single to cut the Padres’ lead to 5-2. Nunez scored on a groundout from Daniel Descalso to push the score to 5-3.

Jason Motte, making his Rockies spring training debut, threw a clean sixth inning despite hitting a batter. He struck out one and worked consistently around 94 mph. Brian Schlitter gave up an earned run on one hit, a walk, and a strikeout. Nunez helped Schlitter escape trouble by cutting down Jose Pirela at second base on a steal attempt. Exciting relief prospect Matt Carasiti induced a double play ball to work around two hits to deliver a clean eighth inning.

Again in the eighth inning, Tauchman played hero. After a Rafael Ynoa walk, Ryan McMahon reached on a fielding error by Alex Dickerson. That would set the stage for Tauchman, who roped a triple to center that scored Ynoa and McMahon and tied the game at 5. Will Swanner followed, driving the first pitch he saw for a double to left field, scoring Tauchman to push the Rockies out to their first lead of the game at 6-5. Raimel Tapia repeated Swanner in driving the first pitch for a single that scored Nunez and Swanner and further the lead at 8-5. The hitting parade wouldn’t stop there, as Tony Wolters singled in his Rockies debut and Tapia would come around to score after Scrappy Ol’ Ynoa’s single up the middle, pushing the lead out to 9-5.

The six-run outburst would be enough for the Rockies as Scott Oberg closed out the game after working around two hits. Wolters showed his defensive prowess, ranging to his left and diving to steal a base hit from Ryan Schimpf at second base.

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