Padres-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

The light-hitting San Diego Padres weren't getting much production from starting catcher Nick Hundley, so they sent him to Triple-A.

His replacement produced unlike anyone else had in major league history.

After hitting homers from both sides of the plate in his first career start, Yasmani Grandal should be behind the plate again Sunday when the Padres try to win just their second road series of the season.

Despite throwing out a major league-best 19 runners trying to steal, Hundley wasn't providing much offense, batting .166 with three homers and 50 strikeouts in 193 at-bats.

"When things weren't going his way, things were building up and effecting his performance," manager Bud Black told the Padres' official website after Hundley was sent to Tucson on Friday. "So it's a classic case of taking one step back to take two forward."

Grandal took a huge step in his first major league start, hitting home runs from both sides of the plate for his first two career hits. No player in major league history had accomplished that feat.

"I can't describe how remarkable this is,'' said Grandal, acquired from Cincinnati in the offseason Mat Latos deal. "Just getting the call-up was surreal. To get called up and hit two home runs for my first two hits, it's just incredible.''

Alexi Amarista also had two long balls as the Padres matched a season high with four. San Diego has 45 homers this season, tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the fewest in the majors.

San Diego (29-50), which swept Seattle from June 12-14 for its only other road series win of the season, will get its second look at Colorado starter Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 4.70 ERA), who returns to the majors following a stint at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

The left-hander, who was demoted May 11 to fix some mechanical issues with his delivery, went 4-4 with a 2.91 ERA in nine minor-league starts.

Pomeranz's last major league appearance came May 7, when he left with a bruised left quad in the fourth inning of a 3-2 loss at San Diego.

He'll be opposed by the Padres' Kip Wells (0-1, 3.60), who will face Colorado (30-47) for the first time in three seasons. Out of retirement and making his first major league appearance since Oct. 1, 2009, with Cincinnati, Wells yielded five runs - two earned - in five innings of Tuesday's 5-3 loss at Houston.

"A little erratic at times," Black told the Padres' official website of Wells, who walked three, threw a wild pitch and committed a crucial throwing error during the Astros' four-run fifth inning.

Wells, who went 1-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 15 games for Colorado in 2008 before being released, is 0-3 with a 6.68 ERA in six career starts against the Rockies. He has an 8.80 ERA in three starts at Coors Field as a visitor.

Colorado left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has hit safely in nine straight games overall, is batting .444 (36 for 81) with seven homers and 20 RBIs during a 19-game hitting streak in Denver.

This is the final home game before the All-Star break for the Rockies, who went 5-10 at Coors in June.

The Padres won eight of 15 on the road last month after going 3-12 outside San Diego in May.

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