After Eric Stults almost single-handedly pulled his team out of a ten-game losing streak last night, San Diego dropped the rubber-match of their three-game series to Colorado this evening by a score of 5-4.
Andrew Cashner was in need of a solid rebound outing tonight, especially after he was mercilessly shelled by the Nationals last week. Although the grizzled right-hander did last longer than two innings against the Rockies, he was still tagged with the loss after he allowed three runs over his five innings of work.
While Colorado’s hitters did not pummel “Grizzly Adams,” they certainly hurt him by manufacturing runs with some timely hitting and taking advantage of the starter’s mistakes. A sacrifice fly, a single, and a wild pitch were what helped the Rockies plate three runs and sting San Diego’s starter in the process.
To be fair to Cashner, he would have had to pitch as well as Stults did last night if he wanted to earn a win as his teammates sputtered at the plate during the five innings he was on the mound.
To his credit, Jorge De La Rosa did a terrific job against San Diego’s hitters for the first five innings of the game. In fact, the veteran left-hander held the Padres’ essentially in check for four straight innings after he gave up a single to Chase Headley in the bottom of the first.
Armed with a 4-0 lead when the bottom of the sixth began, De La Rosa appeared to be in great shape to go deeper into the game. Colorado’s starter however ran into trouble after he served up a two-run dinger to Carlos Quentin. In fact, the left fielder’s home run was actually the first hit De La Rosa allowed since Headley’s single!
The offensive spark ran De La Rosa from the game, and the Padres still had an ample amount of time to make something happen. Unfortunately for San Diego, Kyle Blanks could not come around to score after he hit a one out double later that inning. In the bottom of the seventh, the top of the Friars’ order once again chipped away at the Rockies lead. Everth Cabrera led off the frame with a double and then cut the gap to 4-3 after Chris Denorfia laced an opposite-field single. Sadly, Denorfia was left stranded and the Rockies maintained a one run advantage.
The game was decided however when the Padres’ bullpen could not keep the Rockies’ hitters completely at bay in the top of the eighth. Nick Vincent allowed Colorado to tack on an insurance run when Charlie Blackmon smacked a triple to right field. Thankfully, Joe Thatcher and Brad Brach closed the inning before any more runs could score.
Colorado’s two run-cushion proved to be just enough over the next two innings. Just like the Rockies did in the ninth inning last night, San Diego pulled to within one run in the top of the ninth after Headley singled home Cabrera. But just like the Rockies, the Padres could not tie the game at 5-5 to force the game into extra innings.
This loss drops San Diego to 10 games below .500 (41-51), and now the Padres must prepare for a four-game series against the cellar-dwelling Giants before the All-Star break. Facing the defending World Champions, regardless of how much they have struggled, is no easy task. Thus, I hope that the Friars can find a recipe for success in at least one of their four upcoming games.
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