DENVER — The San Diego Padres erased a six-run deficit with an impressive rally. They still came up short.
Nolan Arenado hit a game-ending homer to begin the ninth inning and the Colorado Rockies shook off their blown lead to beat the Padres 10-9 on Friday night.
Arenado sent a 1-1 pitch from reliever Joe Thatcher (2-1) over the wall in left field. The rookie was mobbed by teammates once he tagged home plate, and all the Padres could do, with no more chances to answer, was trudge off the field.
"It's always disappointing when you lose like that, but it's not the first time it's happened to us. It won't be the last time," said Chase Headley, who began the Padres' five-run seventh inning by reaching when he was hit by a pitch. "You deal with it and guys will be ready to play ball."
Thatcher said he threw a fastball to Arenado that he intended to locate on the outer half of the plate.
"It just kind of ran back to the middle," Thatcher said. "He didn't miss it. Tonight was his night. He made some great plays defensively. Sometimes, it just happens."
Matt Belisle (4-2) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win.
Carlos Gonzalez had two triples and drove in three runs before leaving with a left knee injury in the seventh. Dexter Fowler returned to the lineup after sitting out with a migraine and finished with three hits, while Todd Helton drove in three runs.
The Padres trailed by six runs early in the game and 9-4 heading into the seventh. Headley began the inning when he was hit by Rob Scahill, possibly as retaliation for when starter Edinson Volquez plunked Troy Tulowitzki in the second.
Carlos Quentin then hit a two-run homer and Jedd Gyorko followed with a solo shot. After a double by Kyle Blanks, Cameron Maybin made it a one-run game with an RBI single.
That was all for Scahill, who faced five batters and gave up five runs without getting an out. Everth Cabrera tied it when he beat out an infield single.
After Headley — batting for a second time in the inning — struck out with the bases loaded, Quentin laced a liner to third that Arenado snared and threw a strike to first to end the inning.
"It was a great inning," Headley said. "We strung together some hits and got back in the game. Crazy game, crazy games at Coors sometimes."
Headley said his right calf tightened up after being hit by the pitch and he was taken out as a precaution in the bottom of the seventh as part of a double switch.
"They just wanted to be safe," Headley said. He was to be re-evaluated Saturday.
Gonzalez wasn't around for the finish, either, after slipping in the sixth when he was trying to scramble out of the batter's box. He gingerly ran down the line before limping into the dugout. He trotted out to left to start the seventh, only to be replaced by Jonathan Herrera on a double-switch.
After the game, the Rockies said Gonzalez hurt his left knee.
After scoring three times off Volquez in the first, Colorado broke open the game with a five-run second — a big inning set up by another debatable call at first base.
Fowler put down a one-out bunt and appeared to be out by a step, only to have first-base umpire Jim Joyce rule him safe. Gonzalez followed with a two-run triple. Soon after, Helton, Arenado and Yorvit Torrealba added RBI singles.
The night before, the Padres scored the go-ahead run in the 12th when pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal was called safe at first on his bases-loaded fielder's choice grounder. Replays seemed to indicate he was out by a step.
Blanks, who nearly didn't join his teammates in Denver for this series, had a big game for the Padres, hitting a two-run homer in the second and a run-scoring single in the fifth.
With Maybin set to come off the disabled list, the Padres were planning on sending Blanks to the minors. Instead, Yonder Alonso went on the DL with a bruised right hand and Blanks had to catch a plane to the Mile High City.
Jorge De La Rosa didn't have his best stuff as he surrendered four runs and 11 hits in five shaky innings.
Volquez never got on track, giving up career highs in runs (9) and hits (11) while lasting just 2 1-3 innings. He was let off the hook for the loss with the Padres' late surge.
"It was tough," Volquez said. "That's the first time that's happened to me in my whole career. I've got to be able to make adjustments, throw quality pitches. Tonight, I made mistakes, a lot of mistakes. Everything I threw tonight was a pitch to hit. They put the ball in play and it would find the holes."
NOTES: The Padres will send LHP Eric Stults (4-5) to the mound on Saturday. The Rockies haven't announced a replacement for RHP Tyler Chatwood, who had a triceps injury. The top candidate to fill in appears to be LHP Jeff Francis, who's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. Francis said his groin injury is 100 percent. ... Gyorko's four hits were a career-high. ... Cabrera extended his hitting streak to eight games. ... San Diego's 17 hits matched a season high.