Four reserves contributed to a sixth-inning rally, including Mark Bellhorn with the go-ahead RBI double, that carried the Padres to a 3-2 win on just four hits Wednesday.
"The bench, it's doing a great job for us," said manager Bruce Bochy, whose team won for only the sixth time in 15 games.
The Padres won the final two games of the three-game series. The Rockies dominated the first four games against the Padres at Petco Park this year, winning by a combined 37-12 and hitting 11 home runs.
A day after Chris Young and Trevor Hoffman combined to two-hit the Rockies in a 2-0 Padres win, Colorado left-hander Jeff Francis (3-5) cruised through five innings with a one-hitter and was leading 2-0 thanks to Todd Helton's fourth-inning homer.
As the Padres stumbled to the NL West title last year, they relied heavily on reserves to plug the many gaps left by injured starters. The group was nicknamed the "Red Alert Squad."
"Of course all of us want to play a lot more, but when we get a chance, guys want to come through when they get the opportunity," said Young, 38, who started in left field in place of lefty-hitting Dave Roberts and was batting just .193 coming in. "Bard and Bellhorn have been swinging a hot bat. They came through today, again."
Bowen, a backup catcher who was pinch-hitting for Clay Hensley (4-3), drew a leadoff walk and advanced on Young's bunt single down the third-base line. Francis struck out Mike Cameron and retired Brian Giles on a fly to left before the pivotal play occurred.
Bard singled to left, scoring Bowen. Matt Holliday tried to short-hop the ball, which went under his glove for an error and allowed Young to score the tying run from first. The Rockies came into the game leading the majors in fielding percentage in May. It was just their seventh error in the month.
"I figured even if I don't catch it, I'll keep the ball in front of me," Holliday said. "But I got caught in-between and the ball got under my glove."
Bellhorn then doubled to right-center to score Bard and chase Francis.
"To lose the first batter and then have Young drop down a great bunt, and then get two quick outs, it's almost like you don't know what happened," Francis said. "I didn't make pitches when I had to."
Bellhorn was the starting second baseman for the Boston Red Sox when they won the World Series in 2004. He's started the last five games -- at first, second and third base, and has made 19 starts overall this season. On Sunday, he hit the longest home run ever at Petco Park -- 438 feet -- and drove in four runs in a 10-8 win against St. Louis.
"We're just a bunch of good players who, when we do get a chance to get in the game, we're going to try to go up there and have quality at-bats and play good defense and try to make a difference in the game," Bellhorn said. "When you've got a group like we've got, everybody kind of sticks with each other, and helps each other out and it shows on the field.
"Obviously, the more playing time you get the more consistent you'll be, but you've got to just throw everything out the window and do your job," he said.
Bard and Bowen are the talented backups to Mike Piazza, the
37-year-old starting catcher.
Bard started Wednesday as Piazza got a day off.
"It's fun to know that every day you come to the park, you're going to do something new," said Bard, who was shipped from Boston to San Diego for Doug Mirabelli after he couldn't handle Tim Wakefield's knuckleball.
"The Red Alert goes out, provides a little spark in the offense, tries to get something started," Bowen said. "Once we get something going, you see what we can do. We can put up some runs fast and turn a game around and get the momentum on our side."
The Rockies had runners on first and third with one out in the eighth before Scott Linebrink squelched the rally.
Hoffman struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 11 chances and the 447th of his career. He trails all-time leader Lee Smith by 31.
Helton homered to right, his fourth, off Hensley for a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Rookie Ryan Spilborghs was aboard on a leadoff walk.
Hensley allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings, struck out three and walked two.
Francis struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings to tie his season high. He allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits, with two walks.
The Padres turned three inning-ending double plays. ... The Rockies were 2-7 on a road trip through Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. ... Bochy said the Padres will decide Thursday whether ace Jake Peavy will skip his scheduled start in Pittsburgh on Saturday to let his shoulder tendinitis settle down.