Jack Dempsey/Associated Press
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press
DENVER – The San Diego Padres restored their offensive pop with the help of a little pregame pep talk.
Meeting as an offensive unit, the Padres hatched a simple plan of attack: If they’re going to mess up at the plate, at least mess up being aggressive.
The new approach worked wonders as the Padres pounded out a season-high 14 hits to snap a four-game skid with a 7-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Chase Headley tied a team record with three doubles, and Nick Hundley drove in three runs.
Up and down the lineup, the Padres were knocking the ball all over the yard, smacking seven doubles.
All this from the worst-hitting team in the NL – at least for now.
“We just talked a little bit about relaxing and understanding that you play a 162-game season,” Headley said. “While it looks really, really ugly right at the moment, there’s a long ways to go.
“But it was nice to have some breathing room.”
Cory Luebke (1-1) provided that, throwing seven efficient innings as he breezed through the Rockies lineup on a brisk night. He allowed just six hits and one run.
“Offense did a good job setting the tone early,” Luebke said. “They just went out and took a little pressure off.”
Jeremy Guthrie (1-1) was feeling under the weather but gave it a go despite a sore throat. With the bullpen taxed from so much recent work, Guthrie really had no choice but to hang in there as long as possible. The righty allowed six runs and nine hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh.
“That was one of the focuses – getting deep and trying to compete and giving the team a chance to win,” Guthrie explained. “I wasn’t able to do that, but I was able to get deep. That’s important at this point.”
Gold Glove shortstop Troy Tulowitzki remains in a fielding funk for the Rockies as he committed his fourth error of the season on a hard grounder by Luebke, which led to a run. He had only six miscues all of last season.
Not that manager Jim Tracy seemed all that concerned about his typically reliable infielder.
“It’s just one of those things in the early part of the season that you have to let the ebb and flow take place and let him get into a groove,” Tracy said. “Tulo’s one of the guys who’s searching to find some things, and you have to allow that situation to happen. That’s all.”
Colorado scored in the second when Tyler Colvin singled in Michael Cuddyer. That would be all the damage Luebke allowed.
The lefty even was permitted to work his way out of a jam in his last inning. With two on and two out, Luebke got pinch-hitter Jason Giambi to ground out to end the threat.
“Those types of at bats are stepping stones for young pitchers,” manager Bud Black said. “It was a great hitter against a good young pitcher. He won the battle.”
Headley had a solid game against the team he grew up idolizing. He’s from nearby Fountain and always seems to hit well at Coors Field.
Then again, he hits well at all stops on the road – hitting .304 away from home.
“To be honest with you, I’ve been feeling pretty good for the last three or four days,” Headley said. “I finally got a few pitches to hit (Monday) and was able to square them up.”
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez missed a third consecutive game with strep throat. He said his strength is returning steadily, maybe even enough to play tonight.
“I don’t feel 100 percent yet but getting better each day,” he said before the game.
With their bullpen stretched thin, the Rockies needed Guthrie to go deep into the game. The relievers already have thrown 36 innings this season.
Guthrie took one for the team, throwing 103 pitches.
Just in case, Tracy held off on starter Jhoulys Chacin’s bullpen session Monday, preferring to wait to see if he might be needed in an emergency. The Rockies have a day off later in the week, so they could afford to push Chacin’s throwing session back.
Before the game, San Diego activated utility player Mark Kotsay from the 15-day disabled list. The 36-year-old signed with the Padres last November but missed the opening 10 games of the season because of a strained right calf muscle.