Holland drops ball on Padres’ squeeze, Rockies lose 4-3
DENVER — Rockies closer Greg Holland stretched as far as he could, getting his glove on Matt Szczur as the Padres baserunner dove across the plate.
Holland got there for the tag. Just not with the baseball.
Holland dropped the ball trying to tag Szczur on Austin Hedge’s squeeze bunt, allowing San Diego to finish its rally and beat Colorado 4-3 on Sunday.
“It’s one of those I wish I had back because he was definitely out if the ball didn’t come out of my glove,” Holland said.
Hedges bunted back to Holland (3-6) in front of home plate with runners at the corners and one out, but after making a nice play to scoop up the ball, Holland lost control trying to tag Szczur.
“Getting the squeeze down, that’s a fun come from behind win,” Padres manager Andy Green said.
Colorado’s bullpen blew its first save in three weeks and let the Rockies’ lead for the second NL wild card shrink to 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee. The Brewers beat Miami on Sunday, and St. Louis, which lost to the Chicago Cubs, stayed 4 1/2 back.
Yangervis Solarte homered and doubled to help end the Padres’ five-game losing streak. It matched their longest of the season.
Kirby Yates (4-5) pitched the eighth, and Brad Hand got the last three outs for his 18th save a day after the Rockies beat San Diego 16-0.
“Coming back from (Saturday), such a tough loss, such a beating in many ways, to come back in the game today to get a win and go back home with that positive energy is a really good thing,” Solarte said.
Things weren’t good for San Diego early as Rockies starter Jon Gray struck out seven and allowed two harmless hits. His outing was cut short when the game went into a delay with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Heavy rain preceded lightning in the area and the game was held up for 1 hour, 23 minutes.
“It kind of came out of nowhere,” Gray said. “I didn’t have an idea it was going to rain today at all, so it was a big surprise.”
The storm forced a delay of 62 minutes in the NFL game between the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys at Sports Authority Field, which is 2 1/2 miles southwest of Coors Field.
Colorado took the lead in the fourth when the first four batters reached off starter Jhoulys Chacin. Gerardo Parra drove in the first run with a single and Trevor Story made it 3-0 with a two-run double, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.
With Gray out of the game the Padres rallied to get even against Colorado’s bullpen. Solarte hit his 17th homer to the concourse in left field off Chris Rusin in the sixth and Hector Sanchez’s two-run single off Scott Oberg to tie it at 3.
“Mother nature probably the most valuable player today for us today,” Green said. “We weren’t doing much with Jon Gray so getting him out of the game was probably the best thing that could happen to us.”
Padres: OF Jabari Blash was scratched from the starting lineup due to an infection in his mouth but pinch-hit in the sixth. … INF Jose Pirela (hand) didn’t start but he came on as a pinch runner for Sanchez in the eighth inning.
Solarte’s late wife, Yuliett Solarte, was on the slugger’s mind as he rounded the bases on his 443-foot home run. Sunday was the one-year anniversary of Yuliett’s death after a battle with cancer. The Padres were in Colorado on this day last year when Solarte got the news of her passing.
“It’s a really special moment. It’s tough to put into words, especially today being the 17th and home run No. 17 and we were in the same place when I received the worst news of my life,” he said through an interpreter. “It’s really sad to think about but it’s something I have to continue on.”
Solarte pointed to the sky as he came to home plate after his home run.
“I was overcome with a lot of emotion at that point,” he said. “I almost cried right there. A lot of mixed emotions, happiness and sadness, everything all in one in a moment like that and thinking about my daughters.”
Padres: RHP Luis Perdomo (7-10, 4.61 ERA) will open a three-game home series against Arizona on Monday. Perdomo leads the San Diego staff with 16 quality starts.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (10-7, 4.41) pitches the first of two games in San Francisco on Tuesday. Marquez is winless in his last five starts.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
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