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The Padres, losers of four straight and opening with a record of 2-9, needed a shot in the arm from starting pitching, which as of late is lucky to complete 5 innings. Clayton Richard took the hill on Sunday and provided just that, but hitting fell flat and the Padres were swept again by the Rockies, as the last game of the series went to Colorado, 2-1.

Clayton went six scoreless innings, scattering two hits and four walks while striking out four. Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa did a little better, giving up two hits and only two walks while striking out seven over six innings.

“The story today was that both starting pitchers threw well, both offenses were down, and they got a big blow,” manager Buddy Black said postgame.

When asked about Clayton Richard’s performance, Buddy said, “Step in the right direction, for sure. I think that in the start against the Dodgers, that his velocity picked up and it remained the same today. Breaking ball was better, good change-up, so it’s getting closer. A little bit of the high walk [count] for Clayton today, a couple of at bats got away from him, but for the most part he made pitches, threw strikes, held his stuff through six innings, so all and all it was a big step in the right direction.”

Jorge De La Rosa was even more solid for Colorado, and Buddy paid De La Rosa high praise. “Good mix of pitches, good tight slider, good change-up, the fastball moved around the zone. We couldn’t solve him. We didn’t hit many balls hard off of him. But again, we’ve seen that before prior to his Tommy John [surgery]. He’s a guy that has a good arm, he’s got good secondary pitches, has a good feel to pitch, he’s tough.”

It wasn’t until the seventh inning that runs were scored. In the top of the frame, with Dale Thayer replacing Clayton Richard, Chris Nelson drew a walk and a Yorvit Torrealba sacrifice bunt moved Nelson over to second base.

Todd Helton pinch hit for Jorge De La Rosa and smacked a Dale Thayer slider off of the top of the right field wall for a home run. It was a ball that wouldn’t have left the park last season before the dimensions were changed – the second home run affected by the shorter park dimensions this season – and the Rockies led 2-0.

The Padres tried to come back in the bottom of the ninth inning against Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt. Everth Cabrera and Yonder Alonso opened with back-to-back walks, and Jesus Guzman bunted and sacrificed Cabrera and Alonso to second and third base with one out.

Jedd Gyrko hit a sacrifice fly which scored Cabrera, but Nick Hundley struck out swinging to end the game and the Rockies won 2-1. The Padres fall to 2-10 while the Rockies improve to 8-4 on the season.


Notes:

Chase Headley continued his rehab assignment in Lake Elsinore on Sunday. Chase played third base, had three at bats and went 0 for 3 with two strike outs. It is likely that his minor league rehab will at least continue tomorrow at Lake Elsinore, but nothing certain was determined concerning Headley’s status in San Diego.

Kyle Blanks was called up from AAA Tucson on Sunday and Kyle made an appearance, running for Yonder Alonso in the ninth inning. Thad Weber was sent back down to AAA Tucson in the corresponding move.

Monday, the Padres go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers for the first game in a three game series. Eric Stults (1-1, 3.60) will go for the Padres and face Chad Billingsley (1-0, 1.50) for the Dodgers. Game time is 7:10 PM PDST and can be heard on 1090 AM or seen on Fox Sports San Diego.

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