Helton's HR, combo 2-hitter send Rockies over Padres
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego Padres are off to an awful start, in so many ways.
Slugger Chase Headley is working his way back from a broken left thumb that landed him on the disabled list. Fellow bopper Carlos Quentin just started an eight-game suspension for inciting a brawl that left Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke with a broken left collarbone.
Their offense is weak and a starting pitcher has yet to make it into the seventh inning. At 2-10, they're tied with Miami for the worst record in the majors and already 6 games behind San Francisco in the NL West.
Heck, even their own ballpark betrayed them. Todd Helton had a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh inning and Jorge De La Rosa and three relievers combined on a two-hitter to carry the Colorado Rockies to a 2-1 victory Sunday against San Diego.
Helton's homer off Dale Thayer broke a scoreless tie. The ball bounced off the top of the new right-field fence, which was moved in 11 feet, went over the Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Deck and into the seats.
It was Helton's first homer this season and his third career pinch homer. And it was his ninth shot at Petco Park, tying him with Justin Upton for the most by a visiting player.
A year ago, Helton's fly ball would have been just another long out at the downtown ballyard. The Padres moved in the fences to try to make Petco play fairer, knowing that opponents would benefit, too.
San Diego went 1-5 on its first homestand.
"I've been in this game for a long time," manager Bud Black said. "I've been around teams that have done well. I've been around teams who have had streaks like this. This is a tough start, no doubt about it. We have to fight through this, especially in the next couple of weeks and put our best foot forward here and play hard, which the guys are going to do."
"It will be nice if the guys can string together some pitching. That will make it easier to stay in games," he said.
Lefty Clayton Richard shut out the Rockies on two hits in six innings before making way for Thayer (0-1) starting the seventh.
Thayer issued a leadoff walk to Chris Nelson, who moved up on a sacrifice by Yorvit Torrealba. Helton, pinch-hitting for De La Rosa, homered on a 2-1 pitch.
Colorado also swept San Diego at Coors Field last weekend. The Rockies have hit 11 homers in six games against the Padres this season.
De La Rosa (1-1) held the Padres scoreless on two hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked two. He threw 92 pitches, extending the Rockies' streak of consecutive games without a 100-pitch start to 114.
Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances. He walked the first two batters and allowed a sacrifice fly by Jedd Gyorko. Betancourt struck out Nick Hundley with a runner on second to end it.
After Gyorko drew a walk from De La Rosa with one out in the fourth, Rockies pitchers retired 14 straight Padres batters until Everth Cabrera walked leading off the ninth.
Richard got out of a jam in the sixth, when he retired Josh Rutledge with runners on second and third. But it was his 104th pitch and he didn't get the chance to become the first Padres starter to pitch into the seventh this season.
Richard struck out four and walked four.
"Anytime you are not winning, it's difficult," Richard said. "We play a competitive game. We want to be on the other side of these. Whenever anything happens at the beginning of the baseball season, it gets put under a microscope because there is not a huge sample size. But then again, you want to start off hot. We just need to keep on working and straighten some of these things out."
NOTES: Quentin dropped his appeal and began serving an eight-game suspension for rushing Greinke. That means Quentin will miss the Padres' three-game series at Dodger Stadium beginning Monday night. Quentin also was fined $3,000. ... With the need for an outfielder, the Padres recalled Kyle Blanks and optioned RHP
Thad Weber to Triple-A Tucson. ... Going into Helton's at-bat, Thayer had not allowed a hit in 19 at-bats dating to his final appearance of 2012.