DENVER (AP) - Dale Thayer didn’t think it was all that bad of a fastball. Not hit-it-out-to-straightaway-center bad, anyway.
“I didn’t think it was going out at first,” Thayer said. “But it doesn’t surprise me it went out. He hit it hard.”
That Morneau definitely did. It was the sixth walkoff homer of his career.
For a moment, though, Morneau thought maybe he didn’t get enough of the pitch. When Cameron Maybin drifted back toward the wall in center, Morneau thought the athletic outfielder just might have a play on it.
Maybin had no chance, though, leaving Thayer (2-2) to shake his head. After all, it was a 3-2 pitch that was down and only slightly on the plate.
Morneau sprinted around the bases to the applause from the crowd and flipped his helmet off after passing third. He was mobbed at home by his teammates.
Nick Masset (1-0) pitched a perfect 10th for his first win with Colorado.
LaTroy Hawkins blew his first save of the season in the ninth as he surrendered a tying two-run homer to Everth Cabrera in a contest that was there for the Padres‘ taking despite sending a reliever to the mound for his first major league start and hitting into a triple play.
“This was a game that was in the balance the whole way,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “Both teams kept pecking away at each other the whole game, which is typical of this ballpark.”
Seth Smith and Rene Rivera hit solo homers for the Padres, who return home following a 3-3 road excursion.
Starter Juan Nicasio didn’t have his best stuff, but was bailed out all afternoon by his defense, no more so than in the third. With runners on first and second, third baseman Nolan Arenado fielded a grounder by Carlos Quentin and stepped on the bag. He threw to second baseman D.J. LeMahieu, who relayed the ball on to first for the triple play.
Quentin was originally ruled safe at first, but the second base umpire called Smith for baserunner interference as he slid into second.
“That was different than anything I’ve ever seen,” Morneau said.