By Darren Feeney / KFMB Interactive
After being swept at home by Colorado in the midst of a near franchise worst 10-game losing streak, the Padres are returning the favor at Coors Field.
The Padres hung on to beat the Rockies 7-6 Tuesday night, behind a 16-hit effort to win the second of a pivotal 10-game road trip.
In a search to find a leadoff hitter, manager Bud Black inserted Aaron Cunningham at the top of the order. Cunningham responded with three hits, including a double, and two runs scored.
Trade deadline acquisitions Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick each added RBI singles in the first. Tejada has now driven in five runs through two of the three games in this crucial NL West matchup.
No hit was bigger than pinch-hitter Matt Stairs' two-run homer in the eighth, to put the Padres up 6-3.
San Diego relievers Mike Adams and Joe Thatcher couldn't silence Colorado in the eighth. With two on and two out, Thatcher gave up a run-scoring single to NL MVP candidate Carlos Gonzalez.
In the top of the ninth, the Padres got a huge insurance run off a sacrifice fly by Nick Hundley before Heath Bell converted a shaky four-out save.
Bell gave up an RBI double to Melvin Mora after Todd Helton led off the inning with a double. Jay Payton later singled in a run as well, making it a 7-6 game.
But Bell got Eric Young Jr. to ground into a game-ending double play to earn his 29th straight save and 42nd overall.
A sharp John Garland (14-11) put an end to a three-game slide of his own, allowing three runs—one earned—and four hits. He also helped his own cause at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a walk and a double.
Just when you thought you've got the National League West a little more figured out, forget about it.
The Padres (82-62) now have a 1 1/2 game lead over the Giants (81-64), who lost 1-0 to the Dodgers despite giving up just one hit.
The Rockies (79-66), who had their 10-game winning streak halted Monday night, dropped to 3 1/2 games behind San Diego.