Rockies 4, Padres 3

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—The last pitch Greg Maddux threw was caught by reliever Heath Bell more than 400 feet from home plate.

That wasn’t the way Maddux wanted to exit his first start with the San Diego Padres.

Maddux was mediocre Friday night, getting chased by Matt Holliday’s two-run homer into San Diego’s bullpen that helped carry the Colorado Rockies to a 4-3 win and ruin the Padres’ home opener.

“I just didn’t pitch good enough when I had to,” said the 333-game winner, who signed a $10 million contract in December.

Jason Hirsh won his Rockies debut by striking out a career-high eight, and Kazuo Matsui had three hits, two stolen bases, an RBI and a run scored. The Rockies won their third straight following an opening-day loss to Arizona.

Khalil Greene hit a two-run homer off Brian Fuentes with no outs after Mike Cameron was hit with a pitch to lead off the inning. Fuentes settled down and got three outs to seal his first save in as many chances.

Pitching eight days before his 41st birthday, Maddux allowed four runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. Noted for his control throughout his brilliant career, he also hit a batter and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. He struck out four and walked one.

Holliday hit an 0-2 pitch over the 401-foot sign in left-center with one out in the fifth. Bell, who’d been warming up for several minutes, turned and nonchalantly caught the ball.

Manager Bud Black came out to get Maddux (0-1), who’d been visited before the at-bat by pitching coach Darren Balsley.

“It’s hard to hit a good pitch out,” Maddux said. “Give him credit, too. He went down and got it.”

Holliday homered on a sinker.

“Ideally, you don’t want to stand around and watch him paint the corners,” Holliday said. “He’s such a great pitcher. He doesn’t make mistakes often, so when he does, you’ve got to capitalize on it.”

Maddux dropped to 14-6, with two no-decisions, in his first starts of the season. He was 5-0 to start last season with the Chicago Cubs. Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31, he joined the Padres in the offseason.

With the score tied at 1 in the sixth, Matsui beat out a slow roller to third for a single, stole second, advanced on Garrett Atkins’ fly ball and scored on Maddux’s wild pitch.

Maddux walked Todd Helton ahead of Holliday’s homer.

“It’s not the end of the world when you’re down 2-1. When they scored the other two runs, it’s kind of hard to come back from,” Maddux said.

“I thought he’d still be able to execute some pitches,” Black said. “If he locates one pitch to Holliday, he ends up with two runs in six innings.”

Hirsh (1-0) had a much different result than when he made his big league debut last year for Houston, against the Padres.

The Padres rocked him in his big league debut on Aug. 12, hitting three home runs in one inning and winning 6-3.

“Obviously, I’m a lot happier because I won the game,” he said.

Hirsh was obtained Dec. 12 in a five-player trade that sent Jason Jennings to the Astros.

He walked none and held San Diego to one run in 6 2-3 innings. Hirsh allowed five hits, including Terrmel Sledge’s homer in the fifth that tied the game at 1.

“I didn’t beat Greg Maddux. Our lineup beat Greg Maddux,” Hirsh said. “I just went out there and kept the ballgame close in order for us to achieve that. Not everybody can say they faced Greg Maddux before in their career, and to beat him on top of that just adds to that.”

Manager Clint Hurdle said Hirsh “pitched with a little edge on him tonight. Now he’s taken a step. Home opener, against Maddux, he handled it very well. It’s the kind of stuff you tell stories about when you get old.”

Maddux retired the first two batters in the third before hitting Willy Taveras in the back with an 0-2 curveball. Taveras scored on Matsui’s triple into the right-field corner.

Notes

The Padres honored Hall of Fame-electee Tony Gwynn by unveiling a Countdown to Cooperstown banner on the top balcony of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner during pre-game ceremonies. Gwynn addressed the crowd via a video message, unable to attend because he was coaching the San Diego State Aztecs. … Relievers Trevor Hoffman and Scott Linebrink, and bullpen catcher Mark Merila raised the 2006 NL West championship banner. … Buzzie Bavasi, 90, the Padres’ first president, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Padres rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff dropped to 2-for-17 (.118).

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