DENVER (AP) — The San Diego Padres are picking their spots with Carlos Quentin as they ease him back into action following his return from a knee injury that sidelined him for the first six weeks of the season.
He came through in a tough spot Saturday night.
Seth Smith homered against his former team early, Quentin added a two-run, pinch-hit home run, and the San Diego Padres hung on to beat the Colorado Rockies 8-5 Saturday night.
“When you come back, you’re looking to get hits to put yourself in a nice rhythm out there,” Quentin said. “Looking to be hitting in the middle of the lineup, you want to drive the ball and it was nice to get that first ball driven, first home run out of the way.”
San Diego staked Robbie Erlin (3-4) to a 6-1 lead by roughing up previously unbeaten Jordan Lyles (5-1), who walked a career-high six batters in a season-low 3 1-3 inning outing.
The Rockies got an early home run from Troy Tulowitzki and chipped away at the Padres’ lead, pulling to within a run on Carlos Gonzalez’s two-run double in the sixth inning.
Quentin rebuilt the cushion in the seventh.
Activated this week after spending the first six weeks of the season on the disabled list because of a left knee bone contusion, Quentin batted for reliever Nick Vincent and followed Yasmani Grandal’s two-out single with a drive off reliever Chris Martin that sailed into the left field bleachers for his first home run of the season.
“You’re always trying to add on regardless of where you are but especially here at Coors,” Smith said. “A crooked number is waiting every inning, so you’ve got to try to hold them down and expand the lead any chance you get. That’s why Carlos’ homer was really big.”
Quentin swung through a first pitch fastball from Martin, but he connected when the reliever came back with another.
“It felt good to get some runs on the board, give us that cushion,” Quentin said. “The Rockies were charging. Everybody knows they can swing the bat. They’ve shown it all year. I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on the ball and help slow that momentum.”
Erlin, who entered hitless in 11 at-bats over his eight previous games, singled twice, including an RBI single in the third inning that capped three consecutive two-run innings by the Padres.
On the mound, Erlin allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked none and benefited from a defense that turned five double plays, including four in the first five innings. Huston Street, also a former Rockie, got three outs for his 13th save in as many opportunities.
Lyles, who saw his ERA increase to 3.50 from 2.66, had control problems from the outset. He issued first-inning walks to Everth Cabrera and Smith before giving up a two-two-run double to Yonder Alonso.
“I just didn’t throw enough strikes,” Lyles said. “Too many balls, too many strikes. I’m not going to be successful like that. You can’t put guys on base that many times. It’s just one of those things you learn from. Turn the corner and get better from it.”
Tulowitzki, who had three hits, answered in the bottom of the first with his NL-leading 12th homer of the season.
But Smith, who played for the Rockies from 2007-11, made it 4-1 San Diego in the second. One out after Chris Denorfia doubled, Smith drove a 1-1 offering from Lyles over the center field fence for his fourth home run of the season.
The Rockies pulled to 6-3 on Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly in the fourth and Jordan Pacheco’s RBI single in the fifth.
“Just a tough night,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “We fought back. I think everyone thought we’d end up winning that game but we came up short.”
NOTES: San Diego right-handed reliever Donn Roach (1-0) will start Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies in place of Andrew Cashner, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of soreness in his pitching (right) elbow. Roach be opposed by Colorado’s Juan Nicasio (4-2). … The Padres recalled RHP Kevin Quackenbush from Triple-A El Paso to fill Cashner’s roster spot. … Lyles’ previous career high for walks was five against Boston on July 3, 2011, while with Houston. … The pinch homer was the fourth of Quentin’s career and the fifth by a Padre this season, most in the majors. … Weiss said Brandon Barnes was unavailable Saturday because of a stomach illness.
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