SAN DIEGO -- Chase Headley has found a way to get even without getting mad.
Headley followed an intentional walk to All-Star Adrian Gonzalez with an RBI single that lifted the San Diego Padres to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.After struggling last season when batting behind Gonzalez following an intentional walk, Headley has discovered a more measured way of approaching the situation."I would get so uptight before," Headley said. "I took it as a personal insult to me. Now, I look at it as an opportunity."Headley has taken full advantage of these moments this season. In four plate appearances immediately following an intentional walk to Gonzalez, Headley is 3 for 3 with a double, home run and sacrifice fly with seven RBIs."Of course, Adrian is our most complete hitter," said closer Heath Bell (2-0), who pitched the ninth for the win. "But we have a lot of good hitters this year, including Chase who is having a really good year. You may not want Adrian to beat you, but Chase is making teams pay."Headley's single to right-center field scored rookie Lance Zawadzki from second base without a play after Franklin Morales (0-3) intentionally walked Gonzalez.Zawadzki led off the inning with a walk off Morales and was sacrificed to second by Tony Gwynn. After an out, Gonzalez was walked intentionally after the count reached 3-0.Opposing teams have made it clear they will not allow Gonzalez to beat them. Last year, he led the majors with 119 walks, including 22 intentional. But San Diego rarely made teams pay for walking Gonzalez.It has been different this season as Headley is off to his best start in his second full season in the majors with a .327 batting average."I failed a bunch of times behind him last year," Headley said. "I would push and try to do too much to show them it was a mistake. But I finally told myself that he's one of the best players in the game and to stop taking it personally."Colorado manager Jim Tracy said the decision to walk Gonzalez was an easy one."The hurtful thing about the ninth inning was the leadoff walk to a young kid that's in his third game at the major league level," Tracy said. "We put ourselves in harm's way with the leadoff walk."Zawadzki made his major league debut Sunday and got his first hit in his first at-bat.San Diego tied it at 2 in the eighth inning on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s sacrifice fly. Hairston also had a run-scoring triple in the fourth.Pinch-hitter Will Venable tripled off Manny Corpas with one out in the eighth and Hairston followed with his sacrifice fly."I wanted to be aggressive with his slider," Venable said. "He threw me two fastballs, which I didn't swing on. Fortunately, he threw me a slider on the third pitch that I could handle."Greg Smith, who lasted a career-low one inning in his last start for Colorado, allowed one run in five tough innings. Smith found himself in trouble throughout as he issued five walks. But the left-hander left six runners stranded.Wade LeBlanc gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings for the Padres. The left-hander, who struck out four and walked two, had his ERA go from 0.52 to 1.16.Smith led off the fifth inning with a double and scored on Carlos Gonzalez's one-out double. Todd Helton followed with a run-scoring single to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead.Hairston put San Diego ahead 1-0 with an RBI triple in the fourth that scored Headley with two outs.LeBlanc escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth by getting Miguel Olivo to bounce into a force out at home and striking out Ian Stewart looking on a 72 mph changeup.The Padres had the bases loaded in the sixth when reliever Randy Flores bounced a pitch to the padded backstop. Kyle Blanks attempted to score on the play, but Olivo took the rebound off the backstop and threw to Flores, who made the tag.LeBlanc has been solid since replacing the injured Chris Young in the starting rotation. He was making his fourth start since being recalled from Triple-A Portland on April 18. LeBlanc allowed a run in the first inning of his first start, and extended his scoreless streak before the Rockies' two-run fifth.
Colorado OF Dexter Fowler (ankle) was held of the starting lineup. Fowler was hurt running the bases Sunday at San Francisco. Fowler grounded out as a pinch hitter in the seventh and stayed in the game in CF. ... When David Eckstein was caught stealing in the first inning, it was just the seventh time the Padres had someone thrown out. San Diego leads the NL with 31 stolen bases. ... LeBlanc, who singled in the third, is 5 for 8.