Ken Harrison 8:30 a.m., July 31
San Diego Padres starter Jason Marquis (pictured) was unlucky Friday night, or else the Colorado Rockies simply had a knack for getting the key hit at the right time. Marquis went six innings and gave up a walk and six hits with six runs (five earned) as the Rockies beat the Padres, 10-2.
Shaky defense by the Padres didn't help the cause for Marquis, who fell to 3-8 on the season. Rockies starter Jeff Francis also went six innings, scattering only three hits and a walk and giving up no runs to earn the victory and improve his record to 1-1.
The Rockies scored in the first inning when with one out, Marco Scutaro doubled to right field. Scutaro took third on a Marquis wild pitch and then Carlos Gonzalez grounded out scoring Scutaro and Colorado led 1-0.
Then in the third inning, Wilin Rosario hit an infield single and Francis laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Rosario to second base. After Marquis struck out Dexter Fowler for the second out, Scutaro then singled to center field, plating Rosario, and the Rockies led 2-0 after three innings.
The score remained 2-0 in favor of the Rockies until the bottom of the sixth inning. Dexter Fowler drew a walk from Marquis and then Scutaro sacrifice bunted, moving Fowler to second base. Carlos Gonzalez tripled, scoring Fowler, and then Gonzalez scored on an errant throw by Padres second baseman Logan Forsythe.
With the score 4-0, Michael Cuddyer doubled to left field, followed by a triple from Tyler Colvin, which scored Cuddyer. With two outs, Colvin then came home on a ground ball hit by Chris Nelson when Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera couldn't field the ball, and the Rockies led 6-0 after six innings, and that was all for Marquis, who left the game with 6 strike outs.
The Padres got one run back in the top of the seventh inning when Carlos Quentin hit his seventh home run of the season with no one on base. In the top of the eighth, Alexi Amarista doubled and Will Venable pinch hit for Chris Denorfia and drove home Amarista, and the Padres trailed the Rockies 6-2 going in to the bottom of the eighth inning.
In the Rockies half of the eighth, reliever Alex Hinshaw - who had replaced Marquis to open up the seventh inning - walked Carlos Gonzalez and gave up a home run to Michael Cuddyer, Cuddyer's twelfth. Then with two outs, Chris Nelson singled and Wilin Rosario hit his twelfth homer to complete the scoring.
The Rockies outhit the Padres 9-8, but the difference in the game was timely hitting. The Rockies had some, the Padres not so much. San Diego now stands at 28-50 and has no hope of getting out of the cellar against the fourth place Rockies in the next two games against them, regardless of the outcome.
Catcher Nick Hundley was optioned to AAA Tucson on Saturday morning, a move that should not be unexpected. Nick was having a stellar year defensively, throwing out a league-leading 19 runners attempting to steal, but his batting average had dipped to .166 on the season. Yasmani Grandal was called up to replace Hundley. Nick signed a $9 million dollar contract extension before this season. He'll be working on relaxing and refocusing at the plate, it was obvious early on that he was pressing. Manager Buddy Black is confident that Hundley will correct his hitting and be back up at some point.
Yasmani Grandal spent a couple of days up with the big club earlier in the season. Grandal went 0 for 1 in his only at-bat. He was hitting .335 at AAA Tucson, with 18 doubles, six home runs, and 35 runs batted in, walking 37 times against only 35 strikeouts in 194 at-bats. Grandal's bat appears ready to be tested at the major league level, but his fielding has always been a question mark. Apparently, we'll see how he has progressed.
This afternoon, the Padres will try again against the Rockies, starting Edinson Volquez (4-7, 3.82) against Christian Friedrich (4-5, 5.86). First pitch will be at 4:15 PM PDST, televised on Fox Sports San Diego. Well, unless you are still stuck with Time Warner Cable, in which case, I am saddened by your demise and disgusted with your unfortunate lack of choice in relative sports channels. As always, your pals at XX 1090 AM (XPRS for those of you who are radio junkies) offer you consolation in the form of a radio signal.