SAN DIEGO -- Save the roller coaster ride for the amusement park, because Padres' manager Bud Black said he has no use for it whatsoever.
That was the sentiment Black shared after a wild game on Sunday, as the Padres edged the Rockies, 12-11, before a crowd of 22,948 at Petco Park that saw a little bit of everything.
How about a 5-2 Rockies lead that turned into an 11-5 Padres advantage after an eight-run fifth inning? Or what about that six-spot in the eighth inning by the Rockies to forge an improbable tie?
Then, of course, there was a walk-off victory in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was enough to keep Black's head spinning.
"I don't like roller coasters," Black said. "But every now and then you've got to take a wild ride. And we did."
The Padres completed a 7-2 homestand with a frantic finish, as Yonder Alonso's fourth hit of the game, a hard single to left field, turned into the game-winner when Everth Cabrera beat a strong throw home by Rockies' left fielder Andrew Brown.
Cabrera reached base on a one-out single in the ninth inning against Matt Belisle (3-7) and advanced to second base on a balk. One batter later, Belisle intentionally walked Chase Headley to get to Alonso -- who to that point had reached base four times on three hits and a walk.
Alonso jumped on a fastball away, driving it into left field, where Brown had to range a little to his right to field the ball, which might have given Cabrera just enough time to score. San Diego third base coach Glenn Hoffman, showing no hesitation, frantically waved Cabrera home.
"We had the right guy [Cabrera] at second base. It was a good throw, it was a nice play. Cabbie got a good jump. No doubt Hoffy [Hoffman] was going to send him," Black said.
The Padres, who head into Monday's off-day with a 71-76 record, would have likely kicked themselves if they gave this one away. They had built a big lead, sending 12 batters to the plate in the fifth inning.
John Baker got the scoring started in that inning with a two-run single that tied the game. But the Padres were just getting started, as Cabrera had a two-run double to right field, which was followed later in the inning by a two-run home run by Headley, his 28th home run of the season.
"Then the fireworks started," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy.
The eight runs in one inning were the most in one inning this season by the Padres, who improved to 23-8 at Petco Park since July 16.
The Rockies (58-87) didn't go away, though. The Padres tried to cover some innings with rookie relievers like Cory Burns, Tom Layne and Nick Vincent, but the Rockies scored six times in the eighth inning to tie the game. The big blow was a grand slam by Josh Rutledge off Vincent.
"It looked as though we had them, but they kept playing," Black said.
The Padres pitching got considerably better thereafter, especially in the ninth inning when reliever Luke Gregerson allowed two singles to open the inning before striking out Wilin Rosario. Black then went to the bullpen for lefty Joe Thatcher (1-4), who struck out Jason Giambi and Charlie Blackmon to end the inning.
"In that situation, you've got to be aggressive and make pitches," Thatcher said. "With Giambi, you can't make a mistake because he can hit it a long ways. Luke has been so solid for us that it was nice to get him out of a jam by getting those two guys."
That sequence paved the way for the bottom of the inning and Alonso's fourth hit of the game, though he admitted afterwards that a bad play on the bases in the third inning -- he was thrown out at second base trying to advance on a fly ball to center field with his team trailing 5-2 -- nagged at him all game.
"That baserunning mistake really got me," Alonso said. "I was trying to redeem myself. I messed up."
Not in the end, though, as the Padres head to Phoenix for the start of a three-game series against the D-backs, a team that now sits just 1 1/2 games ahead of them in the National League West.
As it turned out, this roller coaster ride offered Black a smooth finish, a ride he embraced only when it was finally over.
"On balance, we'll take it," he said.