SAN DIEGO -- Padres manager Bud Black's thoughts as he watched a ninth-inning liner off the bat of pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay as it found its way into the outstretched glove of a diving Tyler Colvin were likely similar to the thoughts racing through minds of fans witnessing the spectacular play.
"Off the bat I thought no," Black said. "As it was coming down I thought yes. And as it ended up ... it was no."
Black could have just as easily been describing the arc of his team's 8-6, 12-inning loss to the Rockies in front of 37,174 fans on Saturday night. It was a back-and-forth battle that saw his Padres grab and then concede an early lead, tie things up late and ultimately fall victim to two Rockies runs in the top of the 12th.
The Padres jumped out to an early three-run lead thanks to three consecutive hits in the first and a Jesus Guzman solo home run in the second. But the Rockies came storming back with four runs off San Diego starter Kip Wells in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a three-run lead of their own.
San Diego climbed within one with a Guzman triple, Everth Cabrera double and a Chris Denorfia single in the fifth. They would tie things up with a two-out rally in the eighth. After Carlos Quentin clubbed a double, rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal drove him in to tie the game, which would stay tied until the Rockies broke the deadlock in the 12th.
But that Kotsay line drive seemed destined to break the tie much earlier than that. Kotsay, who has 49 career pinch-hits, came to the plate with one down and two men on in the bottom of the ninth. He smacked a liner down the right-field line, one he and the Padres bench believed was going to touch down and send them home with a win. As he pumped his fist rounding first, Colvin made a spectacular diving grab to steal the hit and send the game to extras.
"I was playing the other way ... it's one of those things where if you can't get to it, it's game over," Colvin said. "In my mind I thought it was over... as I got closer and closer I realized I was going to have a chance."
"I think everybody thought [the ball was down]," Padres third baseman Chase Headley said. "He made a great play. But then Will [Venable] turned around and made a great play on them, too."
Venable answered Colvin's catch with an almost identical diving grab in nearly the same spot down the right-field line to erase what looked to be a certain RBI double off the bat of Marco Scutaro.
"Their guy made a great play, but I think Will made a greater one," Black said.
So the game headed to the 12th tied, thanks to Venable and the Padres' bullpen, which had worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Wells with five different pitchers and 23 2/3 scoreless innings dating back to July 14. It would only reach 24 1/3, as lefty Joe Thatcher yielded RBI singles to Jordan Pacheco and Ramon Hernandez to snap the streak.
"We battled ... everybody else in the bullpen did well, I just didn't get the job done tonight," Thatcher said. "I was throwing strikes, was one out away. One of those hits could just have easily been right at [shortstop Everth Cabrera] and we'd keep playing."
Those near misses sunk the Padres, despite another solid offensive performance in a second half full of them. Denorfia, Logan Forsythe, and Guzman each had two hits apiece, and Cabrera added three. Headley had two RBIs, and seven of the Padres' starting eight position players, including Headley, had hits in the game. All told, the Padres, who emptied their bench of position players in the game, had 13 hits from eight different players. It just wasn't enough.
"It's just one of those games," Black said. "A lot of changes, a lot of close calls on both sides, near-hits and near-misses -- all those things go into a 12-inning game."
"All those things" included four hours and four minutes of game time, 37 players, 29 hits and 369 pitches. Those things also included eight Rockies runs and six Padres runs, the only numbers that mattered, though they certainly told only a fraction of the story.
"I think we did a lot of good things. Obviously, you want to win, but if you're going to lose, that's the way to lose," Headley said. "You play a good game, you just get beat."
Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.