Ross' first spring start offers a little bit of everything

Righty walks first two, gives up pair of unearned runs in an inning-plus

Ross' first spring start offers a little bit of everything

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There were any number of ways Padres pitcher Tyson Ross could have eased into his first start of spring Sunday against the Rockies at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Throwing four consecutive balls to leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu probably wouldn't have been at the top of his list in terms of importance, but that's the situation Ross found himself in.

"The first four pitches weren't locked in," Ross said.

The ones after that mostly were, which was one of the biggest takeaways for Ross, the last of the Padres' projected starters to get into a Cactus League game this spring.

Ross opened his start with walks to LeMahieu and Drew Stubbs before getting Corey Dickerson on a fly ball that allowed the runners to move up to second and third base. He then got Matt McBride to fly out to shallow center field before striking out Ben Paulsen to escape trouble unscathed.

"It's a situation I'm going to find myself in during the regular season with runners on, trying to prevent a run from scoring," Ross said. "It's all part of the game. I had to do it in the first outing, but it's something that's going to come up down the road."

For Ross, it didn't happen much last season, a blissful run that saw him win a career-high 13 games, post a nifty 2.81 ERA in 31 starts while also making his first National League All-Star team.

In the second inning, Ross allowed an infield single to Tommy Murphy, but looked to get a double-play ball when former Padres catcher Nick Hundley grounded a ball right at second baseman Jedd Gyorko. But the ball skipped past Gyorko for an error. The next batter, Rafael Ynoa, singled softly to right field, marking the end of Ross' start.

Ross allowed two unearned runs on two hits in one-plus inning with one strikeout. He departed after 45 pitches, his limit for his first start.

The Rockies edged the Padres, 7-5.

"I thought his stuff was good, his usual slide and he just pulled a few fastballs where he wasn't getting great extension, great finish," said Padres manager Bud Black. "But into the mid-40's [pitch count], he held his stuff."

• Outfielder Justin Upton, who missed workouts and games Friday and Saturday because he was sick, returned to workouts on Sunday. He didn't appear in the game but Black indicated Upton would likely play Monday against the Cubs in Mesa and would likely be the designated hitter.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.