Rockies 4, Padres 2
DENVER (AP)—Greg Maddux was beaten at his own game.
Jason Hirsh mixed up his pitches—sprinkling in his changeup and curve to set up his fastball—and bore down when things got tough in Colorado’s 4-2 win over San Diego on Sunday.
“He’s not afraid to throw his slow pitches and changeups when he’s behind in the count,” Maddux said. “It’s a good way to win a lot of games.”
Maddux should know—he has 334 career victories pitching that way.
“You have to tip your cap to him,” Maddux said.
Hirsh (2-1) went seven innings, giving up two runs and four hits and striking out seven. He also beat Maddux and the Padres on April 6 in San Diego. In that game, Hirsh went 6 2-3 innings and had a career-high eight strikeouts.
“I didn’t want to be the same pitcher I was the last time I faced them,” he said. “If I keep giving them a fresh look, they’ll always be off balance.”
Growing up in Southern California, Hirsh had different pitchers he admired for various reasons. He liked Maddux because of his ability to get out of jams.
“In a tough situation, he really locks down,” Hirsh said. “The bulldog mentality: Don’t show emotion, just go out and do your job.”
Hirsh did just that after giving up runs in the fourth and seventh innings. Following Adrian Gonzalez’s RBI double in the fourth, Hirsh retired the next three batters to strand Gonzalez at second.
After Hirsh gave up a solo shot to Khalil Greene in the seventh, he struck out the next three batters to end the inning.
“You want to get the momentum back on our side,” Hirsh said. “I tried to toughen up and make my pitches.”
Hirsh hasn’t been able to rely on his changeup until this season. He’s been working on it in the offseason and finally feels comfortable throwing the pitch at any point in the count.
“I have a backup pitch in case I’m scuffling,” Hirsh said. “The changeup also allows me to get my mechanics back (if I’m struggling). If I can throw my changeup for a strike, I can throw a fastball or a curve for a strike.”
Maddux (1-2) left after pitching seven innings, allowing four runs and scattering seven hits.
“I pitched well enough to lose,” he said.
Matt Holliday had a single, double and triple for the Rockies. He also drove in a run. Holliday is now 9-for-18 in his career against Maddux, a four-time Cy Young Award winner.
“I just try to be aggressive with him, because you know he’s going to hit the plate,” Holliday said. “Some guys you see the ball better against than others, and I see the ball pretty well against him.”
“I wanted to go out there so bad and win that sometimes I put that on my shoulders and it comes out in games,” Hirsh said. “I wanted to get us rolling.”
The Rockies failed to homer for the fifth straight home game, tying the club record for consecutive homerless games in a single homestand. Colorado’s seven home runs this season is last in the majors.
But the Rockies didn’t need the long ball the way Hirsh was pitching.
“Throughout the game, whenever a situation arose, he dealt with it,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “He kept his composure.”
The Padres had few good looks at pitches out of Hirsh’s hand.
“You couldn’t sit on anything because he was throwing everything for strikes,” Mike Cameron said. “He threw strike one with the changeup and with the fastball. You get that going, and keep the ball down in the zone, the deception is even more effective. The kid was awesome. He pitched a good game.”
Rockies INF Kaz Matsui, on the 15-day disabled list since April 15 with back spasms, has started to lightly throw and walk on a treadmill. … Rockies RHP Byung-Hyun Kim allowed one unearned run in 3 2-3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday. He’s on the 15-day DL with a bruised right thumb. … San Diego 2B Marcus Giles, who has an 11-game hitting streak, sat out Sunday with a sore hip flexor. … The game lasted 2 hours, 11 minutes, the sixth-shortest game in Coors Field history. … Colorado’s Garrett Atkins has had four doubles in the last two games. … Greene has hit 12 home runs at Coors Field, the most he’s hit in any park other than Petco Park.