SAN DIEGO (AP) — Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley came out for a mound visit after Joey Lucchesi walked Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond to open the sixth inning, and pointed at Craig Stammen warming up in the bullpen.
“He said, ‘You don’t want him coming in. He’s come in and threw so many innings for us this year so far,'” Lucchesi said after combining with three relievers to three-hit the Colorado Rockies in a 3-0 win Saturday night. “That motivated me because I want to help out my team and give the relievers as much rest as possible. So that fired me up.”
The mound visit paid off. Lucchesi got Ryan McMahon to hit into a double play and Garrett Hampson hit a pop foul that Eric Hosmer caught after appearing to push in the protective netting.
Manny Machado hit a two-run home run and Wil Myers also connected to back Lucchesi in a matchup of the NL West’s worst teams.
The Rockies, who entered the night 31 ½ games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, lost for the 10th time in 11 games and the 14th time in 16 games.
Machado, the $300 million slugger, hit a two-run opposite-field shot to right off Jeff Hoffman with one out in the sixth and Greg Garcia aboard on a leadoff walk. It was Machado’s 29th overall and just his third since Aug. 1.
Myers homered leading off the fifth, his 17th.
Lucchesi (10-7) allowed only two hits and struck out eight in six innings but walked five. He retired his first 10 batters before loading the bases with two outs in the fourth. He got out of it by striking out Garrett Hampson.
“I knew what I had to do and was well-prepared for today and took advantage of it,” Lucchesi said.
“The way it started was sensational, the way it ended, was honestly, a little bit lucky,” manager Andy Green said. “Just too many walks. Ultimately though he did what we needed him to do, which was battle and execute when he had to and get through scoreless innings and get to the bullpen with the lead.”
Stammen and Andres Muñoz each pitched a perfect inning before All-Star Kirby Yates gave up a hit in the ninth while striking out two for his MLB-best 40th save in 43 chances.
Hoffman (1-6) also struck out eight while allowing three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings, with three walks.
He said the homer by Myers “ran away from location. We were trying to go down and away and it ran almost completely across the plate. That was the one where it was like, ‘All right, that one got away from me a little bit.’ And then the Machado homer was just up. It was on the right side of the plate, it was just up. Good hitters can lift that pitch and he got enough of it where it snuck out. What are you going to do? The guy made $300 million dollars for a reason.”
Rockies: Rookie RHP Peter Lambert (2-6, 7.19) is scheduled to make his 17th start in the series finale.
Padres: LHP Eric Lauer (8-8, 4.55) looks for his career-high third straight winning decision. He struck out a career-high 10 in an 8-4 win last Sunday at San Francisco.
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