Fuentes, Rockies split doubleheader with virus-short Padres

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·5 min read
Fuentes, Rockies split doubleheader with virus-short Padres
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DENVER (AP) — Josh Fuentes capped a big night with a two-out, walk-off single in the eighth inning after earlier hitting a two-run homer and the Colorado Rockies salvaged a doubleheader split by beating the virus-hampered San Diego Padres 3-2 on Wednesday.

The Padres, missing starters Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers and two others because of COVID-19 concerns, won the opener 5-3. Austin Nola, who's normally a catcher but was playing second base for shorthanded San Diego, made a nifty catch with the bases loaded for the final out.

In the nightcap, Fuentes drove a changeup from reliever Nick Ramirez (0-1) to deep center to set off a celebration near second base as the Rockies snapped a five-game skid. Fuentes' bat provided all the run production — he homered in the second.

The Padres were haunted by a series of late-inning baserunning mistakes.

In the eighth, Jake Cronenworth started on second under the extra-inning rule. After advancing to third, he tried to score on Nola's grounder, but was thrown out at the plate. The Padres challenged thinking there was no sliding lane. The out call was upheld.

This after pinch-hitter Victor Caratini, who hit a grand slam in Game 1, continued his productive day by chopping a game-tying single through a drawn-in infield in the seventh. The Padres were poised for more, only to run themselves out of the inning with one out and runners on first and second.

Caratini was thrown out at third by left fielder Raimel Tapia on a blooper he thought was going to be caught. Then, Trent Grisham was caught trying to steal third.

Yency Almonte (1-1) got the win.

San Diego managed seven hits with a lineup missing several big bats, with Tatis and Myers both testing positive for the virus.

Before the game, Myers was placed on the injured list along with Hosmer, who’s sidelined as part of baseball’s contact tracing health and safety protocols.

Tatis, their standout shortstop, went on the IL on Tuesday after testing positive. Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo also were added because of contact tracing.

“It’s one of those opportunities — an opportunity for us to come closer and build even better chemistry,” manager Jayce Tingler said.

Padres starter Blake Snell was lifted for a pinch-hitter after throwing four innings and allowing two runs. He struck out seven and walked three.

The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner hasn’t lasted more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his eight starts for the Padres since being acquired from Tampa Bay.

Austin Gomber took a hard no-decision. Acquired in an offseason trade for Nolan Arenado, Gomber allowed one unearned run over 5 1/3 innings.

Caratini lined a two-out grand slam in sixth to put the Padres ahead. It came on a belt-high fastball from reliever Robert Stephenson, who was summoned after starter Jon Gray (4-3) loaded the bases.

Emilio Pagán (3-0) picked up the win with a scoreless fifth inning. Mark Melancon earned the five-out save, his 12th, by getting Elias Diaz — on the 10th pitch of the at-bat — to pop out to Nola, who made the play with two other fielders converging.

Nola was a shortstop in the minor leagues but hasn’t played the infield regularly since 2019. He pinch hit for starter Yu Darvish in the fifth and closed out the game as second base.

Darvish went four innings and allowed one unearned run in the no-decision.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: The Padres recalled INF/OF Brian O’Grady from Triple-A El Paso and selected the contract of outfielder Patrick Kivlehan, who started in right for Game 2.

Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (shoulder strain) will join Triple-A Albuquerque for a rehab start Saturday at El Paso. He’s slated to throw around 70 pitches.

QUITE A CATCH

Nola — a catcher pressed into infield duty following a flurry of roster moves — secured the last out in the first game with an running, over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right for the final out.

“It was awesome by Nola,” Tingler said.

Nola was a shortstop in the minor leagues but hasn’t played the infield regularly since 2019.

He was back in his usual spot behind the plate for the second game.

GOING DEEP AGAIN

Fuentes’ two-run homer ended a string of six straight homerless games for Colorado. It was the team's longest stretch without a homer since a drought of seven games in 2014, which tied the team record set in 2007.

DOUBLE DUTY

The Padres are playing a doubleheader in Denver for the third time. They split with the Rockies on June 28, 1994, at Mile High Stadium and lost both on July 3, 1999, at Coors Field.

UP NEXT

Padres: Off Thursday before starting a nine-game homestand that includes three games each against St. Louis, Colorado and Seattle.

Rockies: Open a four-game series with Cincinnati on Thursday. The Rockies will throw righty Chi Chi Gonzalez (1-1, 5.97), while the Reds are slated to send right-hander Luis Castillo (1-4, 6.42) to the mound.

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Pat Graham, The Associated Press