Ross battles after rough first inning
Righty allows bases-loaded walk but rebounds to finish five frames
DENVER -- There have been 1,619 games played at Coors Field in its 20-year history, and a mere 25 of those have resulted in a 2-1 final score. Giving up two runs in Colorado is usually plenty good enough for a win, but for Tyson Ross, who was on the wrong side of Thursday's pitchers' duel that the Padres lost, 2-1, it added up to disappointment and his first loss of the season.
Most of the damage for Ross came in the first inning, when he loaded the bases and walked in a run without a ball leaving the infield. After retiring the first two batters, he walked one, allowed an infield hit and walked two more to force in a run, and his pitch count was up to 37 by the end of the inning.
"I just had trouble throwing strikes early on, and that was it," Ross said. "I struggled finding my release point in that first inning. I made a cardinal sin in baseball, walking a guy with two outs, and I paid a price for it."
The inning was extended when a foul ball off the bat of cleanup hitter Nolan Arenado dropped between first baseman Yonder Alonso and second baseman Cory Spangenberg, who were both chasing it in foul territory beyond the Rockies dugout. The next three men got on base before Ross struck out Drew Stubbs to end the inning.
"I lost it," Alonso said. "It was my fault. I should have made a play. If we catch that ball, he doesn't throw 20 more pitches. Different ballgame. Those are things, myself, we have to focus on early on, making sure we're solid on the defensive side and making the outs they give us. That was a tough one."
Ross rebounded, scattering five more hits and another walk over his remaining four innings, including a leadoff homer off the bat of Corey Dickerson in the fifth -- his third in two games.
"The two pitches he really likes to use are his fastball and slider," Dickerson said. "Early in the count, he tries to get that slider over for a strike, and then later on he tries to bury it and get you to chase it. He was trying to get ahead, just like any pitcher."
In a quiet clubhouse after losing two in a row to split the four-game set, the performance didn't seem that remarkable to Ross, but backed by four innings of shutout ball from the bullpen, it was hard to ask for much more than holding the Rockies to a two-spot at home.
"He battled," manager Bud Black said of Ross. "He got off to a tough start in the first. He threw over 30 pitches. Sets you back a bit as you think in a long-term outing, but, man, he hung in there. Five innings, two runs. At the end of the day, he gave us a chance to win it in the middle of the game, even though he was not at the top of his game."