"I think that was my best outing all year," Cashner said.
Cashner retired the last 14 batters he faced, but he was stuck with his seventh loss of the season after the Rockies held on for a 4-2 victory over the Padres in front of a crowd of 30,099 at Coors Field.
Those three missed opportunities might have been the only palpable difference between winning and losing, as the Padres completed their six-game road trip with a 2-4 mark.
In the first inning, left fielder Logan Forsythe nearly made a nice running grab on a ball that the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki hit, but the ball popped out of Forsythe's glove after he ran into the wall. Tulowitzki was credited with an RBI double on the play.
Then, two innings later, it was center fielder Will Venable who nearly made a diving grab off a fly ball to deep center field off the bat of Corey Dickerson that went for an RBI triple.
"We had some opportunities ourselves to get this done, and we didn't do it," Padres manager Bud Black said.
The coup de gras, though, came in the sixth inning when, trailing, 3-2, the Padres put the first two hitters of the inning on base as Jedd Gyorko and Jesus Guzman reached on consecutive singles. Guzman's single allowed Gyorko to scoot to third base, giving the Padres (54-66) the look of a potentially big inning.
That was when Forsythe topped a ball to third baseman Nolan Arenado, who instead of throwing to second base to start a double play, fired the ball home to catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Torrealba chased Gyorko to third base, tagging him out. Torrealba then tagged out Guzman as he tried to reach third.
"That was a huge play; obviously that was probably the biggest play in the game, and it's a heads-up play," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It looked like [pitcher Jorge De La Rosa ] was running into trouble in that inning, and Yorvit makes a heads-up play to get us out of it. So that was a big one."
It was a lost opportunity for the Padres.
"It was one of those plays where I've got to stay in the rundown," Gyorko said. "He [Torrealba] ran it to perfection. It was the right play but the wrong outcome."
The Padres have been stuck with a lot of wrong outcomes lately, as they have dropped six of their last eight games. On Wednesday, though, Cashner (8-7) kept them in the game against De La Rosa (12-6).
Cashner allowed three runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Following the game, Black was having trouble coming up with many balls that were well-struck.
"Not much hard contact against Cash ... that was great," Black said. "We thought that the fastball would come into play, and today it did. He threw some low bullets and threw a number of quality sliders. He threw an outstanding game."
Cashner actually appeared to get stronger as the game went on. The last hit he allowed was that third-inning RBI single to Tulowitzki. He set down the last 14 batters and was efficient in doing so, finishing with 96 pitches.
"The ball never breaks here, but today I thought my slider was really good," Cashner said. "I felt like I really commanded the zone. My fastball, slider and changeup all felt great."
The Rockies (57-65) added a run in the eighth inning as Dickerson, who had three hits, drove in Dexter Fowler with a double. Fowler had two hits and hit .442 in 52 at-bats against the Padres this season.
De La Rosa allowed two runs on eight hits in seven innings. He walked one, struck out six and got nine ground-ball outs.
"He did what he does," Black said. "He's got a mix of pitches; he keeps the ball down and changes speeds. The ball had good down action through the hitting area today."