Rockies run away with opener vs. Padres
Colorado tallies eight earned runs off Volquez to back stellar Chacin
DENVER -- The Rockies and the rest of the National League West are chasing a phantom, a Dodgers team that simply never seems to lose.
Whether it will push them back into playoff contention is still a pressing question, but the Rockies are on their way to piecing together a long-anticipated surge, taking their fourth straight win in a 14-2 rout of the Padres at Coors Field on Monday night.
The Rockies' offense bumped with a pulse that has reappeared with a vengeance since their return home Friday, spreading 14 runs across four innings Monday -- plenty to support an outstanding start from Jhoulys Chacin (11-6) in front of a crowd of 30,986.
San Diego gathered just five hits and one run off the right-hander, who whiffed six and walked two over eight innings. The one run in eight frames matched Chacin's line from two starts ago in Pittsburgh, good for his seventh consecutive quality start.
"I think the key is I'm throwing my sinker for a strike, getting down and have to make them swing the bat," Chacin said. "So that's what I'm pretty much doing, just throw my fastball for a strike, and then trying to mix in my breaking balls and my changeups."
Monday's win marked the first time the Rockies had won four straight since they reeled off eight consecutive victories from April 12-20, a distant memory for a club that returned from a 1-9 road trip Friday. The team will get the chance to grab the series victory Tuesday with Jeff Manship pitching just his second game in a Rockies uniform.
Colorado's lineup was in sync from the first inning Monday. Wilin Rosario slipped a two-run single off the glove of shortstop Logan Forsythe, the ball coasting into the outfield as Dexter Fowler and Corey Dickerson crossed home.
As if to illustrate the demons that have followed Padres starter Edison Volquez (8-10) to Coors Field throughout his career, the light-hitting DJ LeMahieu kicked off the Rockies' second with a homer. Center fielder Will Venable later misplayed a Dickerson knock to center, the ball bouncing off Venable's hands to score Fowler and put the Rockies up, 4-0.
Dickerson, who took third on a wild pitch, then scored when third baseman Chase Headley bobbled a Troy Tulowitzki grounder.
"[Volquez] didn't have it from the get-go," Padres manager Bud Black said. "They squared-up some pitches all night. We just couldn't stop them early, and their starting pitcher was really good tonight."
As a light rain turned into a steady downpour that eventually led to a one-hour, three-minute rain delay, Colorado's lineup left its third blow in a three-run fifth. Todd Helton and Nolan Arenado led off with singles, Volquez finally relieved in favor of Sean O'Sullivan after walking LeMahieu to load the bases.
Chacin lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right to score Helton before Fowler pulled a single into right to score the two remaining baserunners.
Volquez allowed eight runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings and struck out two. It still qualified as an improvement over his last start in Denver, when he surrendered nine runs in just 2 1/3 innings. San Diego has lost its last five games to Colorado when Volquez starts, the right-hander carrying a 13.07 ERA against Colorado this year.
"He's had some struggles here early in his outings," Weiss said. "But then there's been a couple times this year where he gave up some runs early, and then he settled in and he still hung around for a while. So we were just talking about keeping the pressure on ... don't let your guard down once you get the lead, and the guys played real good offense tonight."
Perhaps ignited by the rain delay, Colorado came out firing with a six-run eighth. After Dickerson's leadoff walk, Jonathan Herrera started a run of four straight singles, Rosario, Charlie Culberson and Arenado each driving in a run before LeMahieu joined in on the fun with one out.
First baseman Yonder Alonso flubbed a toss from his pitcher to keep the inning alive, allowing Fowler to drive in the Rockies' final runs with a two-RBI double. Fowler finished 3-for-4 and drove in four runs, improving to .444 with six runs on the homestand.
The Padres kept Chacin from his third shutout of the year in the seventh, when Jaff Decker launched a solo homer over the right-field wall for his first career hit. Jedd Gyorko added another Padres home run in the ninth.
While the Padres faltered behind four errors, the Rockies' defense helped them preserve the lead early. LeMahieu made a sliding stop to turn a beautiful 4-6-3 double play with runners on the corners in the first, and Fowler made a nice over-the-shoulder catch the next inning to stifle any hits the Padres could muster.