DENVER -- Clint Hurdle has a deep bullpen thanks to September callups.
He almost needed more.
The only other time that many pitchers were used in a nine-inning game was when the Baltimore Orioles used 10 against the New York Yankees on Sept. 12, 2004.
"He got his cardio in, no doubt," reliever Matt Herges said of Hurdle's frequent strolls to the mound.
After starter Elmer Dessens departed in the third inning with a left hamstring injury, the Rockies paraded out one reliever after another in a game that took 3 hours, 25 minutes.
"It seemed like after every out a different pitcher was coming in, and I was watching them warm up," said Troy Tulowitzki, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.
"I would've loved to (have thrown an inning)," Tulowitzki said.
Before the game, Hurdle talked about almost using a string of relievers against San Diego instead of Dessens, who struggled in his last start.
Hurdle had to anyway.
"I was on pace to use 15 at one time," Hurdle said. "I mentioned that to our trainer. I was like, 'How many do we have? We have to go out and get a couple more."'
Herges (4-0) was one of the more solid relievers for the Rockies on the evening. He went 2 1/3 innings and allowed no hits or runs.
"He was a big part of the glue that held that thing together," Hurdle said. "We used just about everybody out there."
Even some that catcher Yorvit Torrealba has never caught before -- like Mark Redman, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier in the day.
"Never caught him, but I've faced him as a hitter," Torrealba said. "I think I was able to call a decent game. But it was a long game."
It was a much-needed win by the Rockies, who closed within three games of the wild card-leading Padres, and remained five games back of Arizona in the NL West. Colorado hasn't been this close to the division leader this late in the season since 1997.
"I'm impressed with us," Herges said.
The Rockies broke open a 5-4 game with five runs on six hits in the eighth inning. Hurdle just wished it would've come sooner so that he wouldn't have had to extend his bullpen.
"It would've rearranged the drama a little bit," he said.
San Diego manager Bud Black said his team wasn't bothered by the Rockies' frequent pitching changes.
"We've dealt with pitching changes before," he said. "Just not that many in one game."
The night wasn't a total wash for San Diego -- the Giants beat Los Angeles on a game-winning homer by Dan Ortmeier.
"It was the best news we had all night," pitcher Jake Peavy said. "Too bad we couldn't win."
Justin Germano (7-9) went three innings, giving up five runs and six hits. He hasn't won on the road since July 15 at Arizona, and has allowed 11 runs over nine innings in two starts at Coors Field this season.
"My hands were dry and balls slipped out," Germano explained.
Kaz Matsui hit a two-run homer in the first, his fourth of the season.
Adrian Gonzalez had a two-out, two-run single in the third to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He also had an RBI groundout in the seventh.
Milton Bradley left the game in the seventh with a strained right oblique muscle after fouling off an inside pitch from LaTroy Hawkins. He's listed as day-to-day.
That may be the status of the Rockies' arms as well. Colorado is hoping for a deep outing from Jeff Francis on Saturday night.
"He's the guy who can last until the seventh or later," Torrealba said. "We need that."
It's the third time the Rockies have used 10 pitchers in a game, but first in nine innings. The Rockies last used 10 hurlers against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 30, 2006, in a game that went 14 innings.
"It was definitely unbelievable," Tulowitzki said.
He didn't realize it was an NL record, though, until he thought about all the waiting around he did as pitchers warmed up.
"Yeah, I can definitely believe it," he said.
2B Marcus Giles (sprained left knee) will be activated Sunday. ... The Rockies have used a franchise-record 29 pitchers this season. ... The Rockies improved to 30-11 at Coors Field since June 2, the best home record in the majors over that span.