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The San Diego Padres lost an opportunity to gain ground in the NL West, splitting a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies after giving up a late lead and eventually losing in Denver on Sunday afternoon.

Luke Gregerson entered Sunday’s game as the closer, with a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the 9th inning. All he needed to do was get three outs before the Rockies could score three runs and the Padres would be returning home with a series victory. Unfortunately, the Rockies were able to score three runs and Gregerson was only about to get three outs. The game continued for another inning before Joe Thatcher gave up the game-winning hit, the second time he’s done that in this series.

The Padres struggled to get anything going offensively in the early part of the game. Rockies’ starter Juan Nicasio got the first sixteen batters outs, a perfect game through 5.1 innings, before Nick Hundley hit a home run. The hits that followed led to San Diego scoring seven runs in in three innings, turning a 4-0 deficit into a 7-4 lead.

San Diego’s offense was stifled by good defense as much as it was by good pitching. Carlos Gonzalez, who was responsible for hitting the two-run double that tied the game in the bottom of the 9th, made two spectacular catches in Left Field in the early innings. One of those two catches robbed Kyle Blanks of a home run, which would’ve been his fourth in six games.

The Padres return to San Diego on Monday but the competition won’t be getting any easier. They’ll have a series against the first-place Atlanta Braves and one against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks before traveling to San Francisco to take on the Giants.

John Gennaro

I'm John Gennaro, contributor to Active Voice and managing editor of Bolts from the Blue. You can tweet me @john_gennaro...

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