The San Diego Padres are surging behind strong pitching.
The Colorado Rockies ' performance on the mound is a big reason for their troubles.
Jason Marquis will try to keep the Padres rolling and build on his own strong performance in the opener of a three-game set Friday night against the last-place Rockies.
San Diego (39-55) has won five of six while its pitchers have compiled a 1.88 ERA in the last five games. That trend came to a head Thursday as Edinson Volquez tossed a one-hitter in a 1-0 victory over Houston, becoming the first Padre to accomplish such a feat at Petco Park.
The Padres took three of four from the club with the worst record in the majors, and they'll try to continue taking advantage of a soft schedule at home when they face the team at the bottom of the NL West.
Marquis (2-5, 3.62 ERA) is set to get the nod in the opener, and he'll be going for wins in back-to-back starts for the first time since May 2011 when he was with Washington. The veteran right-hander allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a 7-2 win at Los Angeles on Sunday, breaking a stretch that saw him go 0-4 with a 4.60 ERA in five starts.
"Marquis did a great job," manager Bud Black said. "He was under the weather, battling stomach flu, and he didn't sleep well. But he really gutted it out on a day that he wasn't a hundred percent, physically. He stayed down in the tunnel between innings to cool off, but he hung in there."
Marquis, who had a career high-tying 15 wins with Colorado in 2009, was charged with the loss in a 10-2 defeat against his former club on June 29, getting tagged for six runs in six innings.
At the plate, Alexi Amarista has been pacing San Diego, hitting .387 with 16 RBIs and 13 runs in 17 games. He's managed at least one hit in all but one of those contests, and was 5 for 10 with two homers and four RBIs when the Padres took two of three at Coors Field from June 29-July 1.
Unlike San Diego, the Rockies (35-56) continue to struggle getting outs. They have a majors-worst 5.26 ERA and have allowed an average of 6.4 runs in dropping four of five.
The club will turn to rookie Drew Pomeranz (1-4, 3.79), who could use some help from his offense this time around if he's to beat the Padres for the first time in three meetings.
The 23-year-old left-hander was impressive against them at home July 1, but was the hard-luck loser in a pitchers' duel with Kip Wells . Pomeranz allowed an unearned run and two hits in six innings of the 2-0 loss.
He wasn't nearly as sharp in his first visit to Petco Park, a 3-2 defeat on May 7 that saw him allow three runs in three innings. He left in the fourth after sustaining a bruised right quad when he was hit by a liner off Volquez's bat.
Pomeranz dropped his most recent outing Sunday, giving up five runs in five innings of a 5-1 loss to Philadelphia.
"What it boils down to is experience and awareness," manager Jim Tracy told the team's official website. "The teacher for that is him being in between the lines and going through (rough innings and situations). Drew Pomeranz will grow from this.
"The thing that continues to impress has been a much cleaner delivery and the adjustments he's made in regard to his arm slot."
|July 16, 2012||Chris Nelson||15-Day DL||Irregular heart beat|
|July 16, 2012||Jonathan Herrera||15-Day DL||Left wrist infection|
|July 09, 2012||Todd Helton||15-Day DL||Right hip inflammation|
|July 09, 2012||Wil Nieves||15-Day DL||Turf toe, right foot|
|July 04, 2012||Jason Giambi||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|June 17, 2012||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Sore right hamstring|
|San Diego Padres|
|July 18, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|July 04, 2012||Andrew Cashner||15-Day DL||Strained muscle in right side|
|June 21, 2012||Anthony Bass||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 10, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Left game - Sprained neck|
|June 04, 2012||Will Venable||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|June 04, 2012||Eric Stults||15-Day DL||Strained left latissimus dorsi muscle|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The heart of the San Diego Padres ' lineup came through in a big way Friday night.
Carlos Quentin , Yasmani Grandal and Chase Headley each hit home runs as the Padres powered past the Colorado Rockies 9-5 in the opener of a three-game series.
An improved San Diego offense has propelled the club to four straight wins and six of seven as the Padres have scored seven or more runs in five of their last seven.
"I think we're having some quality at-bats," Quentin said. "We're getting on base consistently throughout the lineup. Guys are causing havoc on the bases and having good at-bats."
Jason Marquis (3-5) pitched five innings for his second straight win for San Diego. Huston Street retired the side in the ninth to secure the win, and has not allowed a run in his last 13 appearances spanning 11 2-3 innings.
Marquis allowed five runs - three earned - on nine hits. The former Rockies pitcher struck out two and had lost four straight before his last two starts.
"Our guys picked up Jason, but he hung in there," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Our offense picked up our defense. The guys are picking each other up across the board and that's what it takes to win."
Carlos Gonzalez hit his second career grand slam for the Rockies, who have lost five of six.
"He battled a lot especially after Gonzalez hit the grand slam," Grandal said of Marquis. "I think he was frustrated that some of his pitches were missing the zone."
Quentin's solo homer was part of a three-run second that gave San Diego a 3-0 lead, but Gonzalez's slam in the third put Colorado up 4-3. After going 25 games without a home run, Gonzalez has homered in his last two.
The Padres came right back in the bottom of the third with Chris Denorfia 's two-run triple and Grandal's two-run homer against Drew Pomeranz (1-5). Grandal also doubled in the first and had three RBIs.
"That's sort of how you draw it up," Black said of the production in the middle of the lineup. "Those guys did a nice job."
Pomeranz allowed a career-high seven runs on nine hits over three innings. The left-hander struck out three and matched his shortest outing of the season.
"I really don't think I made that bad of pitches," Pomeranz said. "My velocity was down a lot tonight. The home run to Quentin was a bad pitch. Grandal hit the ball from his shoelaces. I was a little off tonight for whatever reason."
Andrew Brown 's sacrifice fly in the fifth cut the Rockies' deficit to 7-5.
"We've been here before," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Once again plenty to talk about offensively. We didn't pitch in the early part of the game, but got back into the game. You surrender seven runs prior to getting three outs in the third inning, you're running uphill."
Three relievers combined to hold the Rockies scoreless before Ramon Hernandez and Josh Rutledge represented the tying runs at second and third in the eighth. But Joe Thatcher struck out pinch-hitter Jason Giambi to end the threat.
"That's a big out, a big spot in the game," Black said. "You look at different teams, and this is one team where they've got Giambi over there every night. We had Joe out there for that purpose."
Headley hit a solo shot, his 11th, in the eighth after Logan Forsythe 's sacrifice fly scored pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay .
NOTES: Rockies C Wilin Rosario left the game in the second with a lower left leg injury. Rosario was hurt on a wild pitch and was slow to retrieve the ball after it bounced past him. Hernandez entered in Rosario's place. ... Both teams observed a moment of silence before the game to honor the victims of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. "I think when you experience something like that, we're just playing a baseball game and it pales in relation to what a number of people are going through right now as we sit here," Tracy said. ... Padres CF Cameron Maybin missed a second straight start with wrist soreness. Maybin pinch ran and stole a base in the eighth and is expected to rest the injury for a few more games. ... Jeff Francis (2-2, 4.76) will pitch for Colorado in the second game of the series against Kip Wells (1-3, 2.82).