SAN DIEGO (AP) – Dexter Fowler’s early power surge is even a surprise to his manager.
Fowler’s second home run of the game and sixth this season, a solo shot off Huston Street in the ninth inning, snapped a tie and sent the Colorado Rockies to a 7-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
A switch-hitting leadoff man, Fowler totaled 15 home runs in his first three full seasons before setting a career high with 13 last year.
“I can’t say that I knew he had this type of power,” Rockies rookie manager Walt Weiss said. “I knew he had power, but he’s been really locked in, really swinging well.”
Padres slugger Carlos Quentin was in the cleanup spot after appealing an eight-game suspension for his role in a wild fight with the Los Angeles Dodgers the previous night. Quentin, also fined $3,000, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
Todd Helton broke out of a slump with three hits for the Rockies, who stopped a three-game slide.
Yonder Alonso hit a two-run homer for the Padres (2-8), who have lost three straight.
Four of Fowler’s home runs this season have come against San Diego. He has six homers in his last nine games against the Padres after not going deep against them in 59 previous games.
“Dexter Fowler is just on fire. We have to find a way to get him out,” San Diego catcher Nick Hundley said.
Fowler, who hit a solo shot in the fifth, drove a 1-1 pitch to right-center against Street (0-1). Josh Rutledge followed with his first home run on a 2-2 pitch into the left-field stands.
The back-to-back homers made a winner of Rockies reliever Rex Brothers (1-0).
“I’m not about results,” Fowler said. “I go out there and put a good swing on it and let it do what it do.”
Earlier in the day, Quentin was punished by Major League Baseball for charging Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke after the outfielder was hit on the upper arm by a pitch. The bench-clearing brawl that ensued left Greinke with a broken collarbone that will require surgery. He is expected to miss eight weeks.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Thursday night that Quentin should remain out until Greinke can pitch again. But when MLB handed down penalties Friday night, Quentin received an eight-game ban and Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. was suspended for one game.
Both were in the lineup Friday night – the Dodgers lost at Arizona – pending appeal by the players’ association.
Colorado tied it at 5 with a pair of unearned runs off reliever Luke Gregerson in the eighth. Helton’s third hit, an RBI double, and Wilin Rosario’s RBI grounder came after an error by Gyorko at third base.
After the home runs by Fowler and Rutledge, Rafael Betancourt worked the ninth for his fourth save in five opportunities.
“I am just going up there looking for good pitches to drive,” Fowler said. “That first one, I thought that’s way back and it barely cleared the fence. That second one, I really thought I got it. But you never really know in this park even with the new dimensions.”
The Padres, who trailed 2-0 and 3-2, took a 5-3 lead with two runs in the seventh off reliever Wilton Lopez. Hundley’s second double of the night scored Jedd Gyorko from first base and Hundley scored on a single by Will Venable, who had two RBIs.
Rockies starter Jon Garland went six innings, allowing five hits and three runs in his second consecutive start against the Padres after missing last season following shoulder surgery. He walked one and struck out four.
“With this lineup, you just want to go out and give the team a chance to win,” said Garland, who beat the Padres 6-3 last Saturday. “There are definitely going to be some bumps and bruises along the way, but if they continue to do what they’ve done it’s going to put us in a good position.”
Tyson Ross lasted 5 1-3 innings for the Padres. He gave up three runs and five hits, striking out eight.
It was in the first inning that Ross was on the ropes. After giving up two runs, he struck out Rosario and Chris Nelson with the bases loaded to end the inning.
A one-out walk to Rutledge, a double by Carlos Gonzalez and back-to-back RBI singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer produced Colorado’s first-inning runs.
San Diego tied it at 2 in the bottom half when Alonso hit a two-run shot to center.
After the Rockies went back in front 3-2, Hundley doubled leading off the fifth and scored the tying run on Will Venable’s single.
NOTES: Padres 3B Chase Headley, on the DL with a broken left thumb, began his rehab assignment as the DH with Class-A Lake Elsinore. He will take Saturday off and return to San Diego for “Chase Headley bobblehead night” and then play on Sunday back at Lake Elsinore. … The Padres selected the contract of RHP Thad Weber from Triple-A Tucson to take infielder Cody Ransom’s roster spot after Ransom was designated for assignment. … Weiss did not seem overly concerned with Helton’s 2-for-21 (.095) start to the season. “I think it’s one of those stretches that a hitter goes through. I don’t think it has to do with his age (39). I saw him as good as I’ve ever seen him this spring. And he hit with power, too. It’s still there. He’ll go on one of those tears where you can’t get him out for a week like he does.” Helton had a pair of singles and a double. … With Garland throwing 88 pitches, Colorado starters extended their streak of consecutive games without reaching 100 to 112. It is the longest such streak since records like that started being kept in 1988. … Padres RHP Edison Volquez (0-2, 10.00 ERA) is scheduled to face Colorado RHP Jhoulys Chacin (1-0, 1.35) on Saturday.
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