SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres have pretty much run out of superlatives for rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.
"He's good," manager Andy Green said after Tatis hit his second leadoff home run in as many games — and a team-record sixth this season — and had some nice defensive plays to help the Padres to a 9-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night.
The Padres scored five unearned runs in the sixth inning.
Tatis broke the old record of five leadoff homers by Will Venable in 2011 when he drove a 1-0 pitch from Jon Gray (10-8) into the home run porch in the right field corner. It was the 22nd of the season for Tatis, who hit a leadoff homer in a 3-2 loss at Seattle on Wednesday.
"I know he's a pitcher who's going to get to me so I was ready," the 20-year-old Tatis said. "I just go out there and try to execute right away."
Tatis, whose father played in the big leagues, enjoys setting the tone.
"To see my team pumped right away is just an amazing feeling. I'm going to try to do it for a long time," he said.
"He's done a lot of different things," Green said. "He's had some really good first-pitch-of-the-game swings, he's worked some counts deeper, he's waited for his pitch. He's good."
In the seventh, Tatis ran to his left to snag a chopper by Ian Desmond, spun and threw him out to end the inning with two runners on. He put his glove over his face for a few seconds and was smiling when he pulled it away.
"When I caught the ball, I spin and what can I say," he said. "I was just trying to finish the play right away. I just get happy and try to help my pitcher on the mound and just try to do my work."
Manuel Margot homered in the eighth for the Padres, his ninth.
The Padres led 3-1 after two — Tatis added an RBI single in the second — before the Rockies tied it on Trevor Story's RBI double in the third and Charlie Blackmon's leadoff homer in the fifth, his 24th.
But the Padres jumped ahead 8-3 when the Rockies fell apart in the sixth. The Padres scored five unearned runs on two hits, two walks, two errors and a wild pitch. The inning was extended by Trevor Story's two-out throwing error on Luis Urias' grounder, which allowed Francisco Mejia to score. Another run scored on Gray's wild pitch. Gray made way for Jairo Diaz, whose throwing error on Tatis' dinker allowed another run before Wil Myers hit a two-run double.
Gray allowed seven runs — three earned — on six hits in 5 2/3 innings, with four strikeouts and two walks.
"Kind of everything was off," he said. "Nothing really felt right early on. I just thought it was going to be one of those days I was going to have to grind. We settled down and made some good pitches for three or four innings. Then again, that first inning has hurt me a couple times these last couple starts, so I've got to do something about that because it's just going to hurt our team."
Matt Strahm (5-8) pitched two innings for the win.
Padres starter Eric Lauer allowed three runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings, struck out two and walked none.
The Rockies had runners on first and second with no outs in the fourth before the Padres used some nice defense to get out of the jam. Right fielder Hunter Renfroe threw out Ryan McMahon trying to score from second on Tony Wolters' single to right and then second baseman Urias and Tatis turned a double play on Gray's grounder.
"We're best friends since minor leagues, so here we are now doing it right now," Tatis said of his relationship with Urias. "We get out there, and we don't care about nothing. I was screaming at him, 'Give it to me, give it to me, hurry up!' Just some kids playing out there."
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (3-9, 7.24) is scheduled to start Friday night. He's 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in eight appearances, including seven starts, against San Diego.
Padres: Rookie RHP Cal Quantrill (4-3, 3.57) faces the Rockies for the second. He earned the win in a 16-12 victory at Coors Field on June 14. He allowed four runs and six hits in five innings.
AROUND THE MAJORS THURSDAY
Chris Sale righted himself and struck out 13 over eight two-hit innings, Sam Travis hit a two-run homer and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 on Thursday night. Sale had allowed 14 runs over nine innings during his previous two starts, both against the rival New York Yankees. He carved up the Angels in his 13th outing with double-digit strikeouts this season. The Red Sox had lost nine of 10 games, not including's Wednesday's contest against the Royals that was suspended in the 10th inning with the score tied at 4. Thursday's game ran without issue and was over in a tidy 2 hours, 16 minutes. Boston entered six games back of the second AL wild card.
Jose Ramirez drove in three runs for Cleveland, Mike Clevinger kept Minnesota quiet with nine strikeouts in seven innings, and the Indians struck first in this four-game series between the AL Central front-runners with a 7-5 victory over the Twins. That cut the division lead to one game. Minnesota has been in sole possession of first place since April 27, a lead that was 11½ games on June 3. The Indians are 40-16 since June 4, the best record in baseball in that span.
Anthony Rizzo had a pair of hits as part of a 30th birthday celebration, Nicholas Castellanos added to his Chicago surge with a pair of homers and the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 12-5 for their biggest NL Central lead of the season. The Cubs' sixth win in seven games gave them a 3½-game margin over the idle Brewers.
Jordy Mercer's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth gave the Detroit Tigers a 10-8 win over Kansas City Royals on Thursday. Travis Demeritte led off the ninth with his third walk of the game and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Rogers.
Gio Urshela hit two home runs for the second straight game, Domingo Germán pitched five innings to win his sixth consecutive decision and the New York Yankees extended their winning streak to a season-best nine games by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 12-6 Thursday.
Brian Anderson homered twice to lead the Miami Marlins to a 9-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves. Elieser Hernandez pitched six shutout innings as the Marlins snapped a six-game losing streak and beat the NL East-leading Braves at home for the first time this season after six previous losses.