Headley, who had struggled in the field and at the plate, hit a towering, three-run homer down the right-field line to lift the San Diego Padres to a 6-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
"Base open, I knew they were coming to me, and that was I was hoping for all night, just another opportunity," Headley said. "Fortunately, I was able to come through. I hit that one pretty good. I had a pretty good idea what they were going to try to do to me. Fortunately, I was able to not miss it."
Batting left-handed, Headley homered on a 1-1 inside fastball from Juan Gutierrez (0-1) to set off a wild celebration at the plate.
With the Padres trailing 3-2, Nick Hundley opened the inning with a walk and was sacrificed by Jerry Hairston Jr. After Everth Cabrera struck out, David Eckstein doubled over left fielder Gerardo Parra's head to bring in Hundley with the tying run. Gonzalez was intentionally walked to bring up Headley. It was Gutierrez's first blown save in as many chances.
"That's one of those things, you see it off the bat and you know it's a no-doubter," said Kyle Blanks, who had two hits, an RBI, a run scored and two outfield assists.
"We tried to go fastball in. He got a pretty good swing on it," Gutierrez said.
Arizona manager A.J. Hinch wasn't happy that the Diamondbacks couldn't close it out.
"We had nine outs to keep them from scoring three runs and we had a difficulty throwing strikes," Hinch said. "Obviously, the leadoff walk in the last inning began the momentum for a bad inning, and they took it to us. That's another game in hand that I feel like we should have pulled out."
Heath Bell (1-0) pitched one inning for the win.
Starting in the third, the Padres retired the last 19 Diamondbacks, two with assists from Blanks, the left fielder. Blanks threw out Jackson trying to stretch a single into a double in the fourth, then threw out Justin Upton trying to take second on an error by Headley, the third baseman.
"I'm not really sure when I had one of those," Blanks said about his two-assist night. "All the work I'm putting in the outfield, trying to do all the little things right, backing up on those plays, trying to cut balls off, it's nice to see all that kind of coming into the picture. All that work is finally starting to show in the field."
Said Headley: "It's just a testament to how he goes about his business. He's doing a tremendous job out there."
Arizona starter Edwin Jackson held San Diego to three hits in six scoreless innings. He walked four and struck out three.
San Diego's late rally got Jon Garland off the hook for what would have been his third straight loss to open the season. Garland issued three of his five walks during a three-run rally by the Diamondbacks in the third, and they all factored in the scoring.
Connor Jackson hit a leadoff single and Stephen Drew walked. With two outs, Kelly Johnson walked to load the bases and Garland walked Chris Young on four straight pitches to force in the first run. Parra singled to right to make it 3-0.
Garland allowed three runs and four hits in five innings, with two strikeouts.
San Diego got its first run in the seventh when Blanks hit a leadoff walk, advanced on Scott Hairston's fly to center and scored on Hundley's groundout.
The Padres loaded the bases against Heilman in the eighth when David Eckstein and Adrian Gonzalez singled with one out and Will Venable walked with two outs. Blanks drew a bases-loaded walk before third baseman Mark Reynolds caught Hairston's pop foul near the stands.
Reynolds made two great plays. He raced in to field Cabrera's bunt leading off the eighth and threw out the speedy runner. Reynolds' momentum left him sprawled near home. In the first, Reynolds made a diving stop of Eckstein's grounder and threw him out from his knees. Parra made a nice sliding catch of Venable's fly ball in the left-field corner.
- Blanks was the first Padres outfielder with two assists in a game since RF Brian Giles also had two exactly four years earlier at Los Angeles.
- Padres RHP Chris Young, on the disabled list with tightness in his right shoulder, played catch and said he felt fine. There's no timetable for his return.
- The San Diego State women's basketball team was honored before the game for reaching the NCAA regionals. Jene Morris, taken by the Indiana Fever with the 11th overall pick in the WNBA draft, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.