Rockies sink Padres behind Rusin's gem
DENVER -- Chris Rusin tossed his first career shutout on Sunday as the Rockies defeated the Padres, 5-0, at Coors Field.
Rusin allowed five hits, one walk and got 12 ground-ball outs in his first win since June 21. This was the first shutout by a Rockies pitcher at Coors Field since Tyler Matzek did it against the Padres on Sept. 5, 2014.
"I just took it inning by inning and pitch by pitch," said Rusin, who became the 19th pitcher in franchise history to throw a shutout and 13th to do it in Denver. "I didn't think anything more than that. When you do, you might try and do a little more than you can. I just tried to stay within myself and make my pitches all game. I was able to keep them off-balanced and use my quick-pitch when I needed to. Just got weak contact and it worked out for me."
Michael McKenry's double to right-center allowed three unearned runs to score, as an error by Padres first baseman Derek Norris on a dropped popup extended the seventh inning for Ian Kennedy. Kennedy allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight.
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Big arm, bad luck: Kennedy has been on a nice roll since a rough start. He's allowed more than three runs just once in his last 14 starts and on Sunday lowered his ERA to 4.20 -- the lowest it's been all season. He was sharp early, striking out the side in the second inning, getting Nolan Arenado, Ben Paulsen and DJ LeMahieu.
"Fastball location was good, curveball was good today. I was getting ahead of guys and my defense made some good plays behind me. Their guy [Rusin] was a lot better today," Kennedy said. More >
Rusin to the rescue: For the most part, Rusin has been able to find success at Coors Field this season, and Sunday was no different. He retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced and didn't allow a runner into scoring position until the sixth. Rusin's outing was just the Rockies' third start of eight innings or more this season. Chad Bettis had the other two -- May 24 vs. San Francisco and May 29 at Philadelphia.
"I just knew I had good location and was able to hit my spots," Rusin said. "So I just used that to my advantage and just tried to do that the entire game."
Going, going, Gon-zalez: The Rockies hadn't had a hit until Gonzalez launched his 27th homer, which is the most he's had in a season since his batting-title year of 2010. The blast -- which was projected by Statcast™ to land 424 feet away -- came on a 91-mph fastball and touched down in the center-field fountains.
"I'm not done yet," Gonzalez said. "I don't want to put that idea in my head. I just want to continue to play baseball and stay healthy, and whatever happens at the end of the year, I'm going to feel really proud."
Web gems: The Padres got two defensive gems in the third inning Sunday, first as third baseman Cory Spangenberg got a McKenry ground ball that carried him into foul territory before he made a throw to first base for the out. The next batter, Matt McBride, was then robbed when second baseman Jedd Gyorko made a diving stab of his line drive.
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Even with Sunday's loss to the Rockies, the Padres -- with victories on Friday and Saturday -- clinched their first series at Coors Field since 2012.
BALK OR NO BALK
With the Rockies leading, 1-0, in the sixth inning, the Padres looked liked they would walk away with a run when Rusin was called for a balk with the bases loaded and two outs. The umpires quickly conferred and changed the call, much to the chagrin of Padres interim manager Pat Murphy, who was then ejected.
"His motion from the full windup and his motion from the stretch is very similar setup. The balk was called by the second-base umpire because he felt like he didn't come set, which he doesn't do in his full windup. Our argument is, one, he called the balk already, and it's a deception to the hitter to not know, because it looks exactly the same in the setup," said Murphy. More >
"Rusin is a heck of a competitor. He's unflappable. He's unfazed. I think the balk, no balk call was in a tough spot in the game right there, and he kept his composure and pitches through it. He showed his athleticism swinging the bat, the way he runs the bases. He fields his position. He does a lot of things well, and he competes." -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss, on Rusin
On McKenry's three-run double, LeMahieu just barely slid into home ahead of Austin Hedges' tag. The play was close enough, though, that San Diego challenged the tag play, but the call stood after video evidence was reviewed.
Padres: The Padres return home to Petco Park on Monday to open a three-game set against the Braves at 7:10 p.m. PT Colin Rea (1-0, 5.40) gets his second Major League start. He allowed three runs in five innings -- and got his first hit -- against the Reds last week.
Rockies: After an off-day on Monday, Colorado will open up a three-game set with the Nationals on Tuesday. David Hale will get the ball in the opener, replacing the recently demoted Eddie Butler in the Rockies rotation. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. MT.
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