Liriano's first homer helps Padres beat Rockies
SAN DIEGO (AP) In his third big league game, Rymer Liriano showed off his raw power in one of the more impressive ways possible at Petco Park.
Liriano's first big league homer was a two-run shot that helped the San Diego Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3 Wednesday to tie their season-high with their fifth straight win. It traveled an estimated 427 feet and landed in the top deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner.
''It felt great,'' said Liriano, who was promoted from Triple-A El Paso on Monday. ''I felt excited when I crushed the homer.''
That, he did. It was the 14th homer hit to the top balcony of the Western Metal building since Petco opened in 2004, and the eighth by a Padres player.
''Third level Western Metal, that's always a good one,'' manager Bud Black said. ''I like the fact he got to an inside fastball. The Rockies the first two days got him with some fastballs in. He turned on that one. We know that he's got the raw power. That showed up today on a fastball from a pitcher that was pitching inside pretty effectively all day. That was good to see.''
Said Liriano: ''I feel really comfortable when I get a fastball in. I'm excited. Some people say I don't ever hit a fastball in. I feel really good right now to hit a fastball.''
Abraham Almonte also homered and Jedd Gyorko tied his career-high with four hits. The Padres are 16-8 since the All-Star break, including winning 11 of 14. The Padres swept a series for the third time this year, all at home.
The Rockies, who have the worst record in the majors at 18-44, struck out 13 times against Ian Kennedy (9-10) and four relievers, giving them 66 in their last six games.
''We've been striking out entirely too much lately,'' manager Walt Weiss said. ''It's about competing when you get to two strikes.''
Liriano's shot came off left-hander Tyler Matzek (2-8) and gave San Diego a 3-1 lead. Chris Nelson was aboard on a leadoff single.
Almonte homered to left with one out in the sixth, his first since being acquired in a trade with Seattle on July 31.
''The one to Liriano, I thought it was a good pitch,'' Matzek said. ''He turned on it. It looked like he was sitting on that pitch. The one to Almonte, I was trying to go away and left it over the middle. That was probably a mistake pitch. He made me pay for it.''
Kennedy struck out eight in six innings while allowing three runs and six hits, with two walks. Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.
The Rockies tied it the score 3-3 in the fourth with a leadoff homer to left by DJ LeMahieu, his fourth, and an RBI double to left by Justin Morneau.
The Padres popped back ahead on Yasmani Grandal's sacrifice fly in the fifth that brought in Gyorko, who hit a leadoff double.
San Diego got a run in the bottom of the first with some help from replay. Yangervis Solarte originally was called out on a grounder to shortstop. Manager Bud Black appealed and the call was overturned, giving Solarte an infield single. He scored on Rene Rivera's one-out single.
Matzek allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings, struck out a career-high nine and walked two.
Gyorko raised his average to a season-high .199. He struggled after signing a $35 million contract extension two weeks into his second season. He later spent 44 games on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis.
Padres pitchers set a franchise record for strikeouts in a three-game series with 37. The previous record was 35 during a series at the Chicago Cubs July 22-24.
Liriano, the right fielder, almost had the Padres' third diving catch into the stands in two games, but couldn't hold onto a foul ball as he tumbled into the seats. On Tuesday night, 3B Chris Nelson and 1B Tommy Medica made nice catches of foul balls while tumbling into the stands.
Rockies: All-Star SS Troy Tulowitzki, leading the majors with a .340 average, will have surgery on his left hip Friday in Vail, Colorado, ending his season.
Padres: SS Solarte strained a muscle in his left side making an errant throw in the seventh and was replaced by Alexi Amarista. 1B Yonder Alonso will go on the DL with a right wrist injury.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (11-8, 4.34) starts at home Thursday vs. Cincinnati. He's made nine straight starts of at least six innings.
Padres: LHP Eric Stults (5-13, 4.76) has allowed three or fewer runs earned runs in eight of his last nine starts going into his assignment Thursday at St. Louis.