Eric Stults (5-5, 3.53) held the Colorado Rockies to 2 runs (one earned) on 7 hits over 7 innings-pitched and the San Diego Padres defeated the Colorado Rockies 4-2 in a turgid 3 hour 21 minute dirge of a game Saturday night at Coors Field in Denver. Jeff Francis (2-4, 6.30) returned to action after a 21 game stint on the disabled list to take the loss, stirring fond memories of the Jon Garland era in the Mile High City.
San Diego jumped-out to a one-run lead in the 1st when Francis walked Everth Cabrera with one out. Cabrera stole 2nd and came home on a Chase Headley ground-single to right-field. Colorado had runners on 3rd-base with two-out in both the 1st and 2nd innings, but stranded Dexter Fowler, who led-off the 1st with a single, and Jordan Pacheco, who doubled with one-out in the 2nd. The Rockies tied the game at 1-1 in the 3rd on one-out singles by Fowler and Eric Young Jr, and a wild throw into center-field by Padres’ catcher Yasmani Grandal on Young’s steal of 2nd-base while Carlos Gonzalez was striking-out. Fowler trotted home from 3rd.
Frances skated through the 2nd and 3rd, logging 5 ground-ball outs, then Jed Gyorko led-off the 4th with a double and scored ahead of a home-run that bounced-off the left-field foul pole by the gigantic Kyle Blanks. The action slowed to a crawl with Francis walking Cameron Maybin, striking-out Grandal and Stults, and delivering a base-on-balls to Chris Denorfia ahead of a run-scoring double by Cabrera.
Long-men Adam Ottavino and Manny Corpas both turned-in strong 2-inning outings in relief of Francis, who threw 93 pitches (59 strikes). Ottavino handled the 5th and 6th, Corpas the 7th and 8th. Colorado got a run back in the 7th when DJ LeMahieu tripled with one-out and scored on a ground ball by Tyler Colvin, in on a double-switch in his return to the Rockies after spending the season’s first two months with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Young, who dropped another fly-ball in right-field, rapped his 2nd single of the night off Dale Thayer, who relieved Stults, leading-off the 8th, and moved to 2nd on a throwing error by shortstop Cabrera, but Rockies’ heavy-hitters Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Wilin Rosario failed to deliver with time slipping away.
Rex Brothers bumbled his way through the top of the 9th and Luke Gregerson worked his way around a Jonny Herrera lead-off single and Nolan Arenado walk to put Colorado down for his 2nd 2013 save.
The Rockies will be looking to break-even with San Diego in the weekend series on Sunday afternoon, sending right-hander Juan Nicasio (4-2, 4.76) out against Padres’ lefty Clayton Richard (1-5, 8.38) in a 2:10 pm start at 20th and Blake.