Padres' rally comes up short after rocky start
Cashner unable to find rhythm; Quentin cracks two-run HR
SAN DIEGO -- There's no telling when Andrew Cashner will make his next start for the Padres, especially since his outing Wednesday was his last before the All-Star break.
The Padres, who have already pushed back a few of Cashner's starts this season to curtail his workload, could do so again when they eventually unveil their second-half rotation.
Either way, Cashner will have some time to think about his final start of the first half, one that got away from him early as the Rockies hung on for a 5-4 victory over the Padres before a crowd of 19,411 at Petco Park.
"I thought I made some pitches in some counts when I was in trouble when I needed to but just couldn't catch that big break early in the game," Cashner said.
"They hit some balls in the holes, a lot of grounders that got through the hole tonight. I've been getting a lot of those balls hit right at guys this year, and it's just one of those things that happened that didn't go my way."
To be sure, there were few highlights for the Padres, though Carlos Quentin hit a two-run home run off Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa (9-5) in the sixth inning. It was Quentin's 11th home run of the season.
The Padres cut the lead to one when Chris Denorfia hit an RBI single in the seventh inning and again cut the lead to one in the eighth on Chase Headley's RBI single, but they couldn't catch the Rockies.
After dropping two of three to Colorado, the Padres (41-51) begin their final series before the All-Star break on Thursday when they host the Giants in the first of four games.
The Padres have lost 15 of their past 18 games.
"We've got to find a way to get over that little hump," Headley said.
As for Cashner, his final line wasn't at all atrocious, as he allowed three runs -- two earned -- on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Several of the hits (and outs) he allowed were hit hard.
"I saw solid contact, ground balls going through," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He was up a little bit and the changeup didn't come into play today. He wasn't quite locating his pitches and they had some good at-bats and made good contact. They nicked him."
After completing at least six innings in his previous 10 starts, Cashner (5-5) has now pitched a combined seven innings in his past two starts -- two the last time out against the Nationals and five on Wednesday.
"I think the biggest thing tonight was I threw some good sliders tonight and it's a pitch I've been working on for about three weeks now, and it's something to build off of and come out after the All-Star break," Cashner said.
"[But] I think it's really locating my fastball. I think it's something that it's been my main goal this year. I don't think I did a very good job of that tonight."
The Rockies (44-48) had baserunners from the start -- and a lot of them. Todd Helton walked to begin the second inning, moved to third base on Yorvit Torrealba's double and scored on Jonathan Herrera's sacrifice fly to center field.
Colorado got another run in the third inning when Cashner allowed a one-out single to DJ LeMahieu and then a two-out walk to Michael Cuddyer. Helton followed with an RBI single into center field for a 2-0 advantage.
Even in those innings when he didn't allow a run, Cashner still ran into trouble as the Rockies had two hits to open the fourth inning but didn't score.
The Rockies tacked on in the fifth and sixth innings with the fifth-inning run scoring as Cashner unleashed a wild pitch.
The Padres didn't have much luck against De La Rosa early. The left-hander allowed two baserunners in the first inning but settled down thereafter, retiring 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced.
De La Rosa was cruising until the fifth inning when he walked the first two batters he faced. But he then retired the next three hitters. He wouldn't be as fortunate in the sixth inning.
"He kept us in check," Black said of De La Rosa.
De La Rosa walked Headley to start the sixth and then allowed the home run to Quentin that got the Padres back in the game.
"We're never going to quit playing," Headley said. "That's what we've come to expect from our guys. ... We are going to keep playing and give ourselves a chance."