SAN DIEGO (AP) — All-Star closer Brad Hand was struggling again, so all rookie Ryan McMahon needed to do was stand in the batter’s box and watch as four straight pitches missed the strike zone.
McMahon drew a bases-loaded walk off Hand to break a scoreless tie in the ninth inning and DJ LeMahieu added a two-run single for the Colorado Rockies, who beat the San Diego Padres 3-1 Thursday to take three of four.
“It feels good to finally help,” said McMahon, who played in 17 games late last season and made the opening day roster for the first time. “I hadn’t really done much to help the team so it feels good to help them get the win and get out of here and head back home for opening day.”
Pitching in a non-save situation, Hand (0-2) walked Trevor Story and Chris Iannetta to open the ninth and the Rockies loaded the bases when second baseman Carlos Asuaje committed an error when he couldn’t hold onto the throw from third baseman Christian Villanueva after Gerardo Parra’s bunt.
Hand struck out pinch-hitter Carlos Gonzalez, but then walked McMahon on four pitches to bring in Story. Charlie Blackmon struck out before LeMahieu singled to with two outs. All three runs were unearned.
“I think Mac showed in spring training and even here that there’s a little bit of plate discipline to his approach, which is great,” manager Bud Black said. “Again, you want a guy to be aggressive there with bases loaded and one out, but he saw the ball and he took the borderline first couple of pitches and then from there it looked as though he saw the ball well and they were out of the strike zone.”
McMahon said he was determined not to get fooled by a slider or curveball.
“I just went up there looking for a heater,” he said. “I got to 2-0, still looking for a heater, he missed low with it, I was taking 3-0 and he didn’t execute and I took my walk.”
Said Hand: “Things aren’t going my way right now. I just have to keep going out there and competing and get it turned around. I feel good, just those walks came back to hurt me. Three walks in an inning is never good.”
Starters Tyler Anderson of the Rockies and rookie Joey Lucchesi of the Padres pitched well but were gone before the game was decided.
“Today was a rough one for him,” Padres manager Andy Green said of Hand. “Today the command wasn’t there. He’s a guy we rely heavily on and a guy we believe in and I’m certain he’ll get it back. Just a rough outing for him today.
“We didn’t help him. We pick up a bunt, throw the guy out at first base and none of those runs score. That’s part of the equation right there. Outside of what Lucchesi and (Craig) Stammen did, we played a bad baseball game today. Have to score runs if you want to win, and more than one, and we didn’t do that.”
The Rockies had only four hits.
Adam Ottavino (1-0) pitched two innings for the win and Wade Davis worked the ninth for his fourth save. Davis allowed Manuel Margot’s leadoff homer, his first, and then retired the side.
Anderson lasted into the seventh inning in a strong rebound from a rough first start, when he allowed seven runs in just 2 1-3 innings at Arizona on Friday. Anderson retired the first 11 Padres batters and allowed only four hits while striking out four and walking none.
Lucchesi threw five strong innings in his second big league start, allowing just one hit and striking out seven while walking three. He retired his last 10 batters.
Lucchesi allowed a leadoff single to Blackmon and then picked him off. Lucchesi walked consecutive batters with two outs in the second before striking out Anderson. The rookie then retired the side in the next three innings.
Chase Headley pinch-hit for Lucchesi with two outs in the fifth and struck out looking with runners on first and second. Headley is hitless in 12 at-bats. Headley has made just two starts at third base.
The Padres were willing to take on his $13 million salary in order to get Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees. Mitchell struggled in his first start, a loss to Colorado on Monday night.
“I felt comfortable and settled in after the first inning, just competing,” said Lucchesi, the first of a wave of Padres pitching prospects to reach the majors. “I just go out there and try to give my team a chance to win. That’s all I care about.”
Rockies: Return to Denver for their home opener Friday, when RHP German Marquez (0-0, 0.00) is set to oppose RHP Brandon McCarthy (1-0, 3.38).
Padres: Head to Houston to open a three-game series with the defending World Series champion Astros starting Friday night, when RHP Luis Perdomo (0-1, 11.25) is scheduled to start against RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 3.38).
By BERNIE WILSON, AP Sports Writer
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