SAN DIEGO (AP) — Just 14 games in, this season is already starting to look a lot like last year for the San Diego Padres.
The Padres continue to get steady pitching that keeps them in most games, but they can’t muster much of an offensive attack to consistently win. San Diego reached Juan Nicasio for two runs in the first inning before the right-hander rebounded to pitch six solid innings in the Colorado Rockies’ 3-2 win Tuesday night.
The Padres’ first four batters reached base with a hit and took a 2-0 lead before Nicasio escaped further trouble with an inning-ending double play.
Nicasio (2-0) then limited the light-hitting Padres to just two hits over the final five innings.
“We came out swinging,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “But Nicasio kind of settled in, found some location with his fastball and pitched with a bit more confidence.”
San Diego, the NL’s lowest-scoring team, had few chances after the first and was held to two runs or less for the eighth time in 14 games.
Much like 2013, the Padres rank near or at the bottom of most offensive categories.
“We put some good at-bats together,” second baseman Jedd Gyorko said. “We’re capable of doing that at any time. We just have to do it more often.”
LaTroy Hawkins, the fourth Rockies reliever, pitched the ninth for his second save as Colorado won for just the third time in nine road games this season.
Nicasio ran his career mark to 3-0 in six starts against San Diego with a 2.89 ERA.
The Rockies scratched together a single run in three separate innings, including the go-ahead run in the fifth off Robbie Erlin (1-1).
The Padres’ best opportunity after the first came with the bases loaded in the seventh inning with two outs. But reliever Boone Logan retired Alexi Amarista on a groundout to end the threat.
In the fifth for Colorado, Michael Cuddyer singled and Carlos Gonzalez walked with two outs. Tim Stauffer replaced Erlin and loaded the bases with a walk to Troy Tulowitzki.
Edwin Rosario then hit a grounder that tipped off Stauffer’s glove for an infield single and a 3-2 lead.
“The second time through the lineup, I just felt myself trying to do too much, overthrowing,” Erlin said. “That’s when I lose command of the ball. My game is definitely command and I got hurt with it.”
San Diego scored twice in the first on four consecutive hits to start the inning. Will Venable led off with a double and went to third on Amarista’s single. Seth Smith and Gyorko followed with RBI singles.
“The fact that he got through six was huge,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “We needed Juan to get through that sixth. That was critical. I was a little concerned at that point, but he settled in.”
The Rockies cut the lead to 2-1 on DJ LeMahieu’s run-scoring single in the second and tied the game on sacrifice fly by Nolan Arenado in the fourth.
Erlin gave up three runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. The left-hander was coming off a six-inning, one-hit effort in his last start, a 2-1 win at Cleveland last Wednesday.
NOTES: Cuddyer, who bruised his right elbow Monday night when he fell backward against the outfield wall while attempting to make a catch, was back in the lineup at first base. … Padres SS Everth Cabrera (sore knee) was held out of the starting lineup. … When San Diego scored two runs without a hit in the eighth inning Monday night for a 5-4 win over the Rockies, it was the first time the Padres scored the tying and eventual winning runs in the same inning without a hit since May 2004.