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De La Rosa makes strides without much help

Morneau powers offense with homer, two RBIs on 3-for-3 night

SAN DIEGO -- Wednesday night wasn't the stuff of Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa's dreams. But it wasn't a nightmare, or at least it wasn't a nightmare of his doing. Sometimes you take what you can get.

After three short and horrid starts, De La Rosa went six innings and was hurt more by misfortune than missed pitches in a 4-2 loss to the Padres at Petco Park in front of 17,428.

De La Rosa (0-3) had one poorly located pitch early -- Tommy Medica's leadoff home run in the second -- but otherwise made a good percentage of his pitches while giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits (two damaging infield hits in the fifth), with four strikeouts and a walk.

"I feel good, but we still lost the game," De La Rosa said. "No matter how I did, it's my fault when a mistake is made and we lose the game."

Medica's first homer of the season tied the score, 1-1. That was big against De La Rosa, who has held the Padres to a .213 batting average in eight games, including five starts, at Petco Park.

"De La Rosa has been tough on us over the years," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's a solid pitcher. I think that home run by Tommy swung the momentum back toward us."

De La Rosa also didn't receive nearly enough help.

The Rockies' Justin Morneau went 3-for-3 with a second-inning homer off Andrew Cashner (2-1), a double and a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Nolan Arenado celebrated his 23rd birthday with two standout defensive plays -- a deft backhand pickup to start a double play in the third and a dive to rob Xavier Nady to end the fifth.

But as has been the case with the Rockies during a road trip that has seen them go 2-4 -- with Thursday afternoon's finale of the four-game set with the Padres remaining -- the big inning was lacking. With bases loaded and one out in the sixth, Cashner, who gave up nine hits but just one earned run while striking out five in 7 1/3 innings, induced a double-play grounder from Jordan Pacheco.

"You don't get a lot of opportunities against a guy like that," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "You hope somebody gets a big hit or you get one to drop when you do get some baserunners.

"He's got a real hard sinker and it's easy to beat that thing into the ground. That's what he did. He got a double-play ball in that situation."

The Rockies were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

The Padres took a 3-1 lead with two two-out runs in the fifth. However, Alexi Amarista's one-out single and Everth Cabrera's single with two down didn't leave the infield. Cabrera's bounced off home plate. The first of the runs scored on a passed ball by Pacheco, the second on Chris Denorfia's double.

Meltdowns after misfortune marred De La Rosa's first three outings. But after escaping the fifth, he struck out two in a spotless sixth and finished with 90 pitches. He lasted 4 1/3 innings in each of his three previous starts.

"It was a solid outing by Jorge," Weiss said. "You pitch like that, you give us a chance to win. There's not a lot of margin for error with Cashner on the other side, but Jorge did a nice job."

Reliever Tommy Kahnle walked leadoff man Amarista in the seventh and saw him score on Denorfia's single.

The Rockies fell to 3-7 on the road but can gain a split against the Padres with a win Thursday.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.
Read More: Colorado Rockies, Jorge De La Rosa, Nolan Arenado, Justin Morneau