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Lyles notches solid outing but looks to improve further

Righty allows one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings vs. Padres

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles will not let the celebrated difficulty of pitching at Coors Field lower his standards.

Lyles was solid for 6 2/3 innings in Thursday's 2-1 victory over the Padres at Coors Field, which gave the Rockies a split of a four-game set that started with two losses.

Righty Kyle Kendrick's two seven-inning starts are the only ones deeper than Lyles' work Thursday. The win makes him happy, but 20 of a possible 27 outs, including 10 outs along the ground, fell short of his expectations.

"When you feel like there's more in the tank, you feel you can be better in your career, and it makes me continue to work on those things that get you there," Lyles said.

Lyles (2-1, 2.92 ERA) held the Padres to one run on six hits, struck out four and walked two. The second walk, to Alexi Amarista with two out in the seventh, allowed the Padres to go to Justin Upton (5-for-9, four RBIs career vs. Lyles). Manager Walt Weiss countered with Scott Oberg, who delivered a strikeout.

Video: [email protected]: Oberg whiffs Upton to preserve the lead

"Jordan did an outstanding job," Weiss said. "I tried to get him through that seventh, but I felt Jordan was starting to get the ball elevated, and Upton has had some success off of him."

Lyles had walked nine in 18 innings in his previous three starts, all six innings. The problem was falling to the first-base side as he threw a fastball -- a habit that created movement to the third-base side and out of the zone. He attacked the issue in side sessions between Sunday's start in Los Angeles and Thursday.

"I'm going to continue to work on it, watch the film, and my next side work is going to be the same thing," Lyles said.

Even if he achieves what he wants with the fastball, he'll have more on his list. On Thursday, he largely pocketed his split-fingered changeup, a pitch he devoted much of Spring Training to, and though his curve worked on occasion against the Padres, he wants it better.

"It was all about fastball command today," Lyles said. "But there are other things I can look forward to, and hopefully down the road, everything will be where I want it."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at
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