Volquez, bullpen help Padres handcuff Rox

Volquez, bullpen help Padres handcuff Rox

Volquez, bullpen help Padres handcuff Rox
SAN DIEGO -- Don't think for a minute that Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez hasn't been paying attention to the numbers: six starts, no victories and more bad luck than the right-hander wished to count. It was not exactly the start he wanted with his new team.

Volquez got his first victory on Monday, thanks in large part to the contributions of the Padres' bullpen, as San Diego snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over the Rockies in front of a crowd of 15,895 at Petco Park.

Volquez, who entered the game with an 0-2 record despite a 2.92 ERA, had a reason to smile after the game as he was finally able to enjoy a victory that was more than just a long time in coming.

"Oh man ... [it was] unbelievable. It's about time," said Volquez, who entered the game as one of five big league pitchers with at least six starts and no victories.

Volquez (1-2) didn't always have his best stuff against the Rockies (12-16), as he allowed two runs and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. But he certainly had the backing of a bullpen that was perfect over the last 11 batters -- no runs, no hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

"That was a typical Petco game," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It usually comes down to relief work or a big hit. We got the pitching and they didn't get the big hit."

It turns out, the Padres (10-20) got a little of both, though the relief work by Joe Thatcher, Brad Brach, Luke Gregerson and Dale Thayer -- with Andrew Cashner getting the night off and with closer Huston Street on the disabled list -- loomed large.

"We wanted to go out and pound the zone and throw strikes," said Brach, who struck out three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings. "We wanted to make it a point to be aggressive."

That approach, apparently, didn't just apply to pitchers.

First baseman Yonder Alonso raised his average to .283 with run-scoring singles in the first and third innings against Rockies rookie pitcher Drew Pomeranz (0-2), who left the game after three innings due to a quad contusion that resulted from a ball Volquez lined off his right leg in the second inning.

Alonso has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games and is hitting .395 (17-for-43) over that stretch.

"He's spraying lines drives and [he] used the middle of the field tonight," Black said. "He's really swinging the bat well."

As for Volquez, who actually saw his ERA rise slightly to 2.98, he had five strikeouts in the game but had a high pitch count -- thanks to several long at-bats. He struck out the side in the fifth inning but allowed a run in the sixth inning, when Carlos Gonzalez singled to make it, 3-2.

"It's a good 'W' for Eddie, he deserved it. He's pitched well," Black said of Volquez, one of four players the Padres obtained from the Reds in December in the Mat Latos deal.

"He's battled his tail off. He was able to find a groove in the middle of the game, but then it left him again. He just couldn't find any consistency with any of his pitches."

Volquez gave up two hits in the first inning and then issued two walks in the second. Each time, he wiggled his way out of trouble. In the third inning, though, Volquez allowed a home run to Pomeranz, the first of the rookie pitcher's Major League career.

"The guy was throwing balls," Gonzalez said. "All day, he was all over the place. His pitch count was up. We were trying to be patient against him, but it seems like the umpire helped him a little bit with balls out of the strike zone. But he's got good stuff. Even when he's throwing balls, he's got a great fastball and good curveball."

But armed with a lead, Volquez made it stand up -- as did the bullpen. Thayer, the final pitcher of the night for the Padres, got three quick outs for his second Major League save and first since his first big league game with the Rays on May 22, 2009 -- a three-inning save in a 15-2 win over the Marlins.

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.