DENVER (AP) -- Trailing by two runs in the ninth inning, the
youthful Colorado Rockies weren't supposed to have the experience
to come through.
"One of the things we are holding on to inside the clubhouse is
that no matter what happens, they are not going to back down,"
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "We will not be intimidated."
By far the youngest team in the majors, the Rockies started
three rookies and two others made their major league debuts.
Just about every one of them had an impact.
Ryan Speier got two outs in the ninth to win in his first career
appearance. Jeff Baker started the ninth-inning rally and became
the fifth Rockies player to homer in his major league debut. Cory
Sullivan made his first career at-bat one to relish, lining a
double into the corner in left to get Colorado within 10-9.
And then there was Barmes. Not only did he become the first
Rockies rookie to hit a game-ending homer, he finished 4-for-6 with
a double, drove in three runs and was steady at shortstop.
"I'm still shaking. That's the biggest rush I've ever felt,"
Hitter-friendly Coors Field lived up to its reputation, with a
sellout crowd of 47,661 alternating between cheers and groans on an
afternoon that included eight homers and 30 hits -- 16 for extra
Trailing 10-8, Colorado's youngsters made sure the fans went
Baker and Sullivan started things off with consecutive doubles
off Hoffman, then Aaron Miles tied it at 10 with his career-high
fifth hit, a run-scoring single up the middle. Barmes followed with
the climactic blow, lifting a two-run homer to left to bring the
Rockies charging from their dugout, the fans to their feet and the
Padres feeling numb.
"This is an important win, the first game out of the chute,"
Hoffman said. "We have to nail that one down would have been huge
for this club. That part of it is frustrating."
The Padres gave themselves every chance despite a shaky start by
Woody Williams in his San Diego debut.
Xavier Nady hit two homers and had four RBI, and Brian Giles had a homer and three RBI. Phil Nevin and
Ramon Hernandez also homered for San Diego, which had 12 hits and
scored five runs in the sixth inning.
As for Williams, he didn't get off to quite the start the Padres
had hoped when they lured him from St. Louis in the offseason. He
gave up consecutive doubles to Miles and Barmes at the start of the
game, then walked Todd Helton and allowed Preston Wilson's
three-run homer, which made it 4-0.
Williams gave up two more runs in the third on Baker's first
career hit, a two-run homer that put the Rockies up 6-3, then was
pulled after giving up consecutive singles in the fourth.
Williams allowed six runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, but it
wasn't all that much of a surprise since he was 1-1 with a 12.81
ERA in four previous appearances at Coors.
"Woody just struggled with his command he made too many
mistakes in this ballpark, not the place to make mistakes," Padres
manager Bruce Bochy said.
Superb in his first year at Coors last season, Rockies starter
Joe Kennedy wasn't so fortunate in his second Opening-Day start.
Giles hit a two-run drive in the third inning that bounded into
the crowd off the top of the wall in right, then Nevin hit the next
pitch into Colorado's bullpen to cut the Rockies' lead to 4-3.
Nady made it 7-6 in the fifth with a three-run homer that chased
Kennedy, who gave up six runs and seven hits in five innings.
Colorado's bullpen wasn't much better, giving up four runs in
four innings -- not a good sign from a group that set major league
records for losses and blown saves a year ago.
Not that it mattered with the way Colorado's kids played.
"I think we abided by what Clint tells us: Respect everything,
but be in awe of nothing," Sullivan said.
Both teams are off Tuesday before playing each other again
on Wednesday. ... Luis Gonzalez was the previous Colorado player to
homer in his major league debut, doing it on opening day last year.
... Nevin was called out in the fourth inning when he hit a ball
just in front of the plate and knocked it away with his bat. ...
Miles tied a Colorado record with three doubles.
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