San Diego’s offense made sure he did.
Ryan Klesko homered and drove in three runs, Khalil Greene had a homer and two RBIs, and Eaton finally beat Jennings in his fourth try to lift the San Diego Padres to a 9-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Eaton (5-8) was in danger of becoming the first pitcher since 1976 to lose to an opponent four times in a season after giving up 17 runs in 18 1-3 innings his first three outings against the Rockies.
He got the better of Jennings this time, throwing plenty of strikes after the Padres staked him to a 7-0 lead in the third inning. The right-hander allowed four runs on nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, winning for the second time in six starts.
“I guess the odds were in my favor this time,” Eaton said.
His teammates helped skew the numbers.
San Diego’s defense made numerous stellar plays for the second straight night, from Terrence Long’s catch among the fans down the line in left in the first inning to second baseman Mark Loretta’s diving stop to start a double play in the ninth.
“The play Loretta made in the ninth really saved the game,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “Our defense played tough here.”
San Diego’s offense also did its part, knocking Jennings (8-8) around for nine runs and 15 hits—the most allowed by a Rockies pitcher and at Coors Field, and tied for most in the majors the last five years.
The Padres finished with 16 hits, winning for the fifth time in six games, a night after pounding out a season-high 18 in a 13-6 win over the Rockies.
“This is a hitters park. We hit the ball at the start of both games,” Bochy said.
So did the Rockies.
Jeromy Burnitz hit his third homer in two games, Miles had two RBIs and Colorado had 14 hits after getting 12 on Monday, but the Rockies couldn’t overcome a big early deficit for the second straight night.
Jennings had a lot to do with that.
He was superb against San Diego his first three starts, giving up just five runs in 21 2-3 innings. The Padres had things figured out by the fourth outing against him, knocking the right-hander for seven runs and 13 hits by the third inning.
“They are making adjustments to me and I am trying to figure out what their plan is,” said Jennings, who was 4-0 his previous five home starts. “It’s definitely a mind game, but if you make your pitches you are going to be OK even if they know what is coming. I didn’t do that consistently enough tonight.”
Jennings escaped the first inning by allowing just a run after allowing three hits and five baserunners, but wasn’t so lucky in the second.
Ojeda led off with a double and Greene followed with a single. Todd Helton made a nice play to get Ojeda at the plate for a double play after tagging first, but it didn’t slow the Padres.
Sean Burroughs followed with a run-scoring double, then Loretta, Giles, Klesko and Long hit consecutive RBI singles to put the Padres up 5-0.
It was more of the same in the third inning, with Ojeda hitting a single and Greene his fifth homer, a two-run shot that made it 7-0. San Diego had an 8-2 lead after three innings Monday night in a 13-6 victory over Colorado.
“Unfortunately, we don’t win points for being entertaining in this league,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “It is very going to be tough to win when you pitch the way we did over the last three days.”
The Rockies at least gave it a try.
Klesko followed with his fourth homer, a two-run shot to right in the sixth that made it 9-3, but Colorado answered with a run in the bottom half on Miles’ RBI double.
The Rockies then got three more in the seventh on an RBI single by Preston Wilson and Burnitz’s 22nd homer, a two-run shot to right.
Larry Walker singled off Trevor Hoffman to lead off the ninth and give the Rockies a chance at 9-7, but Loretta’s diving stop on Wilson’s grounder turned into a double play. Hoffman struck out Burnitz looking to finish of his 25th save in 28 chances.
“It feels liked you have been in a heavyweight fight, these two games,” Loretta said. “Back and forth, no lead is safe. We knew we had to add on.”
Colorado C Charles Johnson turned 33 on Tuesday. … Giles had a scuff mark on his helmet after Jennings hit him in the head with a pitch in the sixth, but was OK after taking only a glancing blow. … Catfish Hunter of the New York Yankees was the last pitcher to lose four games in one season, when he went 1-4 against Baltimore’s Ross Grimsley in 1976. … Four pitchers have allowed 15 hits in a game since 1999, most recently Oakland’s Barry Zito against Tampa Bay on July 8, 2003.