Whether unfamiliarity hurt Bud Black last night can’t be proved or disproved “ but three pitches after Black stuck with his 40-year-old starter in the sixth inning, the Rockies added two critical runs to their lead.
Rockies slugger Matt Holliday hit Maddux’s 83rd and final pitch for a two-run home run, a 424-foot, one-out blow that proved decisive in Colorado’s 4-3 victory, the Padres’ first defeat in four home openers at Petco Park.
Holliday came up three pitches after Maddux bounced a pitch in front of the plate, a wild pitch that scored Kaz Matsui to break a 1-1 tie with one out. A ball two pitches later to Todd Helton resulted in Maddux’s first walk. As Heath Bell warmed up in the bullpen beyond center field, Black stayed with Maddux.
œI thought he was still throwing the ball well, Black said. œIt was a 2-1 game. His pitch count was where he had been before in spring-training games. I thought overall he was going to still be able to execute his pitches.
Holliday fouled off two pitches. Maddux came back with a knee-high pitch on 0-2, and Holliday launched it over the wall in left-center “ directly to Bell, who casually caught the ball as he stood on the rubber.
œI caught a little (too) much of the plate, Maddux said. œHe hit it, too. Give him credit.
Jim Edmonds expressed surprised at being left out of the lineup for St. Louis’ win over Houston last night, to which Tony La Genius responded as though someone said, “hey buddy, we think you’ve had enough.”
“The way I look at it, we’ve got two left to play this weekend against righthanders. So I don’t know if it makes sense to play him tonight and sit him against one of the two righthanders when you’ve got a Taguchi who doesn’t match up as well against righthanders,” La Russa said. “Now, if you think he can play all three, that’s another question. But that’s not what I was told.
“Maybe if he didn’t complain about his shoulder, his foot and his hammy barking a little bit, maybe the training staff wouldn’t say he should play only two out of three.”