SAN DIEGO (AP)—Miguel Ojeda got a chance to be the hero in just his 14th big league game.
The rookie catcher hit a three-run homer—his first—and later singled in the tying run as San Diego took a big lead, blew it and then rallied to beat Colorado 7-6 Wednesday night.
The Padres retrieved the home run ball from a fan in the left-field seats.
“It’s a great feeling,” Ojeda said while holding the ball, which he’ll add to his trophy case back home in Mexico. “I’d say I was struggling for a few games and I finally put everything together. A big home run to go ahead in the game. I can’t explain myself.
“Over everything, I’m excited because we won the game, and the way we won it.”
San Diego snapped the Rockies’ four-game winning streak and denied what would have been their first road sweep in more than two years. San Diego avoided a sweep for the fifth time in its last seven series by winning the final game.
The Padres scored four unearned runs in the third inning, thanks to three Colorado errors, to take a 5-1 lead. Their bullpen then allowed four runs—two unearned—in the seventh to let the Rockies go ahead 6-5.
San Diego started its winning rally with three straight one-out singles off reliever Todd Jones (1-4) in the seventh, including Ojeda’s single up the middle to bring in Sean Burroughs with the tying run. Donaldo Mendez then hit a fly ball to the warning track in left to score Xavier Nady and make it 7-6.
Ojeda finished 3-for-4, his first multihit game. The San Diego catcher had his contract purchased from the Mexico City Red Devils on May 17.
“Big night. He did a great job,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ve been looking for a little punch down there and he gave it to us tonight. He had a huge hit there off Jones. He had great numbers down in Mexico and he’s got a good swing, and tonight he showed it.”
Ojeda’s three-run homer highlighted the third, when errors by first baseman Todd Helton, right fielder Jay Payton and third baseman Chris Stynes—there were two on one play—led to four unearned runs and a 5-1 Padres lead.
Helton, a two-time Gold Glove winner, committed two errors in Tuesday night’s win, and has six this year. He came into this season with a career .996 fielding percentage, sixth highest for a first baseman. His career high for errors is nine, in 1999.
Rondell White singled to left to open the third. Ryan Klesko hit a grounder that went under Helton’s glove for an error, then Payton committed a second error when he let the ball bounce up and behind him, allowing White to take third. White scored on Burroughs’ sacrifice fly, then Nady reached when Stynes bobbled his grounder.
Ojeda then drove a 1-2 pitch from Scott Elarton deep into the seats in left.
“You can’t give a team as many chances as we did and expect to win,” Helton said.
“We kicked the ball around pretty good in the third inning,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “But when you make mistakes, you have to be able to pick up your teammates, and we didn’t do that.”
Padres left-hander Oliver Perez left with a 5-2 lead, chased by his sixth walk in his last 2 2-3 innings. He allowed two runs and two hits, and struck out six.
The first four Rockies batters reached in the seventh, which was extended by shortstop Mendez’s error. Reliever Matt Herges allowed Ronnie Belliard’s RBI double, Jesse Orosco gave up Helton’s RBI single and Hackman gave up Preston Wilson’s run-scoring groundout and a sacrifice fly by former Padres slugger Greg Vaughn.
Payton hit a solo homer with two outs in the second, his 11th, and Stynesdrove in a run in the fourth with a grounder.
The Rockies’ last road sweep was June 15-17, 2001, at Cincinnati. … The Padres and Pacific Architectural Mill Work installed the first 10 lockers in the home clubhouse at Petco Park on Wednesday. The downtown ballpark is scheduled to open in April. Burroughs and Nady were on hand to hang the firstjerseys.