Rookie Villanueva hits 3 homers, Padres get 1st win of 2018

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Rookie Villanueva hits 3 homers, Padres get 1st win of 2018
San Diego Padres' Christian Villanueva, right, reacts at the plate after hitting a solo home run as Colorado Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta looks away during the second inning of a baseball game in San Diego, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rookie Christian Villanueva hit three impressive home runs and drove in five runs, Tyson Ross was a winner in his return to San Diego, and the Padres became the last team to get its first victory of 2018 by beating the Colorado Rockies 8-4 Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old Villanueva joined Hunter Renfroe as the only Padres rookies to hit three homers in a game. Villanueva, the third player to start at third base in San Diego’s first five games, became the seventh Padres player overall to go deep three times.

Villanueva, who made his big league debut Sept. 18, capped his big night with a three-run shot that went an estimated 390 feet to left off Antonio Senzatela with two outs in the seventh.

His first two were solo shots off left-hander Kyle Freeland (0-1). The first went an estimated 400 feet off the facade of the Western Metal Supply Co. building in the left-field corner with one out in the second. The second went an estimated 399 feet into the second deck in left with two outs in the fourth.

Villanueva made his major league debut in September and hit four homers in 32 at-bats.

The Padres trailed 3-2 before Freddy Galvis hit a two-run single in the sixth and Villanueva scored his third run of the night, on a fielder’s choice.

That made a winner of Ross (1-0), who allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. Ross was pitching for the Padres for the first time since opening day 2016. He didn’t pitch again that season and eventually had thoracic outlet surgery. He pitched for Texas last year before returning to the Padres on a minor league deal.

Ross nearly made it unscathed through the order the first time, but Freeland singled to center with one out in the third. Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu walked to load the bases before Nolan Arenado doubled to left. Freeland and Blackmon scored but LeMahieu was thrown out at the plate on a relay throw by shortstop Galvis.

The Rockies added another run in the fourth and had another runner thrown out. With runners on the corners, Chris Iannetta singled to left to bring in Gerardo Parra. Trevor Story tried to advance from first to third and was cut down by Jose Pirela.

Freeland allowed four runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.

Brad Hand came on with two runners on to get the last out for his first save.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: C Austin Hedges (back) was out of the lineup a second straight game. … OF Wil Myers didn’t start a night after coming out of the game with a triceps injury.

UP NEXT

Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (0-1, 6.75 ERA) looks to bounce back from an opening-day loss to Arizona.

Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (0-0, 1.00 ERA) pitched seven strong innings on opening day.