SAN DIEGO -- In the first two weeks of the season, Seth Smith has helped the Padres win games with his bat. He's even made a few dandy catches in left field to thwart potentially big innings.
On Monday night, Smith found a way to help his new team win a game again -- albeit through unconventional methods, especially if you count his speed and headiness among his best assets.
Smith scored the go-ahead run during an eighth-inning rally that included three walks and no hits as the Padres stunned the Rockies, 5-4, before a crowd of 14,784 at Petco Park.
"You never know how a game is going to play out," said Padres manager Bud Black. "But this game of baseball takes some twists and turns."
And peculiar ones, at that.
In a game they once trailed 4-0, the Padres rallied for three runs in the fifth inning and then watched -- and watched is the key word -- as Rockies reliever Rex Brothers walked the bases full in the eighth and then watched him nearly work out of the mess he created.
Xavier Nady and Smith reached base on walks to start the inning, only after Smith nearly popped a bunt up for an out. The Padres (6-7) took the bunt sign off and he walked. After Brothers got Jedd Gyorko to fly out and Chase Headley to line out to center field, Yonder Alonso walked to load the bases.
That set the stage for Yasmani Grandal to put his team ahead, though he probably never figured that it would happen without making contact.
Brothers ran the count to 2-1 and then missed outside on a fastball as the ball skipped past catcher Wilin Rosario. That allowed Nady to score easily from third base. Rosario retrieved the ball and fired it back in the direction of the plate, only to see it miss wide as Smith, alertly, kept running.
Smith, who nearly made the first out of the inning on his bunt attempt, ended up scoring the go-ahead run.
In the span of seconds, a 4-3 Rockies lead dissolved into a 5-4 deficit.
"I can't remember the last time I saw that play," Black said.
Alonso, who watched the play unfold as he was rounding the bases, wasn't surprised in the least that it was Smith who scored all the way from second base.
"He's sneaky fast," Alonso said. "It was a heads-up play by everyone. It was a lucky bounce. It feels like the first one we've had here in [my] three years."
Smith admitted that he might have slowed briefly coming around third base, though third-base coach Glenn Hoffman was urging him to keep going. It's a good thing he didn't stop.
"In that situation, I'm going to go for it and make them make that play," Smith said. "You don't usually score two runs without a hit."
The Padres, who have won four of their last five games, hung around on Monday even though Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles looked good early, taking a two-hit shutout into the fifth inning.
But the Padres scored three runs in the inning as Tommy Medica, pinch-hitting for pitcher Eric Stults, got a fastball to drive, lining it into left field for an RBI double. Later in the inning, Everth Cabrera knocked in a run with a double while Alexi Amarista had an RBI triple to right field to make it 4-3.
"I like the way our guys hung in there," Black said.
That extended to, Black said, Stults, who allowed three earned runs on nine hits with two walks over five innings. His line was a little deceiving, as Black said his overall stuff was actually pretty good.
"Stults doesn't give in. He's not going to give in and give you something to the middle of the plate. He still pitches to the edges of the plate when he gets in trouble," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss.
The Padres' bullpen combined for four scoreless innings, as Nick Vincent got out of a bases-loaded mess left by Alex Torres after three walks in the sixth inning. Dale Thayer (1-0) got the victory by tossing a scoreless eighth inning and Huston Street worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his fourth save in as many chances.
The Rockies (6-8) looked good early on, as they scored an unearned run in the third inning and then got an RBI single by DJ LeMahieu in the fourth inning. Rosario's home run to left field in the fifth inning left the Padres down 4-0.
But at that point, there was still plenty of time to get back into the game. In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Padres used their bats to score three runs. In the eighth inning, they didn't need to.
"We sort of stole that one," Alonso said, smiling.