Padres 5, Rockies 0
SAN DIEGO (AP)—With the San Diego Chicken keeping things loose, the Padres opened their final series at Qualcomm Stadium with a win.
After playing 35 years in the Mission Valley stadium, the Padres will move into their new ballpark near the waterfront, Petco Park, next spring.
The Chicken, who made his debut here in 1974, made his first appearance at Qualcomm Stadium since 1996.
While the Chicken has distracted some players in the past, Eaton said the mascot’s antics helped contribute to a good atmosphere.
“It kept the crowd in the game, that’s for sure,” said Eaton (9-12), who set a career high for victories. “There was a constant buzz. You have to be an alien not to feed off that.”
In a matchup of the NL West’s two worst teams, Eaton allowed just four singles in seven innings while striking out four and walking one. Eaton’s previous career high for wins was in 2001 when he was 8-5.
The Padres have 10 shutouts, all combined, while the Rockies were shut out for the 12th time.
The loss dropped the Rockies to 23-56 on the road, assuring them of their worst record away from Coors Field. Their previous worst was 26-55 last year.
Rockies rookie Cory Vance (1-3) lost to the Padres for the second straight start. He also lost an 11-3 decision to the Padres at Coors Field on Saturday. Making his fourth start, Vance allowed three runs—two earned—on six hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out two.
Pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay hit a two-run double in the eighth for San Diego.
The bottom of the third inning ended with a crazy play that left several Padres confused.
With the bases loaded, Khalil Greene hit a sinking liner to left. Jay Payton dived for the ball and trapped it, third-base umpire Terry Craft signaled it was a hit and Phil Nevin scored from third to give the Padres a 3-0 lead.
But Xavier Nady and Gary Matthews Jr., apparently thinking the ball was caught, went back to their respective bases. Payton got up and threw the ball to second to force Matthews. Nady made it back to second, then took off for third and was tagged out by right fielder Rene Reyes.
“I think it was confusing for some of the players because they thought I caught the ball,” Payton said. “It’s strange because only a few of us were aware immediately at what was happening. I think even afterward the Padres didn’t know what happened.”
Said Padres manager Bruce Bochy: “It’s been a while since I’ve seen one like that. There was some confusion there.”
Nady was aboard on an RBI single and Matthews had walked.
Gary Bennett hit an RBI grounder in the second against his former team.
Two years after facing Tony Gwynn in the former Padres star’s last game, the Rockies are the final visiting team at Qualcomm. … Bochy is looking forward to the Padres moving out of Qualcomm and opening Petco Park. “To be honest, I am ready to get out of here to our new ballpark,” Bochy said. “This ballpark’s been good to this organization and myself, but I’m ready to go.”Petco is scheduled to open in April.