Volquez struggles as Padres lose to Rockies

Volquez struggles as Padres lose to Rockies

Volquez struggles as Padres lose to Rockies
DENVER -- A mere glance at Edinson Volquez's pitching line on Saturday night depicts a pitcher who labored at times, failed to keep the ball in the ballpark and just generally had a difficult time pitching against the Rockies at Coors Field.

Truth be told that Volquez, the Padres' starting pitcher, allowed five earned runs and didn't get out of the fifth inning, playing a critical role in the Rockies' 9-1 victory before a crowd of 30,125 -- a victory that was punctuated by a Dexter Fowler grand slam in the eighth inning.

But in the eyes of Padres manager Bud Black -- and even Volquez himself -- the outcome could have just as easily been different had it not been for several soft liners that caused every bit as much damage as the hard-hit balls in the game.

"A bad day," Volquez said afterward. "A lot of bloopers."

Case in point: Volquez, after getting the first two hitters out, allowed an opposite-field double to Carlos Gonzalez in the first inning. Wilin Rosario then blooped a single in front of Carlos Quentin in left field for a run -- the 18th earned run that Volquez has allowed in the first inning this season.

Then, in the fifth inning, with the Rockies leading 2-0 and again with two outs, Volquez tried his best to bury a fastball low and away to Tyler Colvin, who had a solo home run in the second inning.

But Volquez left the ball up and Colvin took it the other way for a two-run double. Chris Nelson then blooped a ball to left in front of Quentin -- a play that eerily resembled the Rosario ball in the first -- for a 5-0 lead.

"They nicked him for a couple of runs, there were some bloopers in there," Black said.

Volquez (9-10) wasn't disappointed or frustrated. He's been around long enough to know that over the course of a season -- where a starter will make 33 starts or so, if healthy -- these things will happen.

"There's nothing you can do on those kinds of days," Volquez said. "You can't complain. That's just part of the game."

Volquez allowed five runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts, continuing a porous run for him, as he's hasn't finished five innings in four of his last six starts.

The Padres (62-72) had a tough time with Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (2-4), who became the first Rockies starter to complete seven innings since June 4. The Rockies went to a four-man rotation not long after.

"He threw strikes. He had a good sinker, he threw a couple of changeups. That's as efficient as I've seen him," Black said.

Chacin allowed one run over on five hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out four. Not a bad performance from someone who didn't have a feel for his pitches in the bullpen before the game.

"It wasn't a really good [pregame] bullpen -- I was throwing too many balls in the dirt, my changeup, my breaking ball," Chacin said. "But when I got to the game, I just let the ball go, like I have been doing, having fun."

There wasn't much fun for a Padres offense that managed six hits against Chacin and two relievers, with the biggest blow a solo home run by Will Venable to start the sixth inning.

Cameron Maybin, who had three hits on Friday, had two more on Saturday. He's hitting .294 since June 29 and has raised his average to .236.

"In the last month of so, we've seen the average rise," Black said of Maybin. "He got off to a rough start. We're seeing a more compact swing, his strikeouts are down and he's putting the ball in play more."

While the Padres had trouble with Colvin early, reliever Joe Thatcher struck him out in the seventh inning. For Thatcher, it was his first appearance since July 26. Thatcher was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, after rehabilitating tendinitis in his right knee.

"It's good to get Joe back out there and get him acclimated again," Black said. "He felt fine. It was good to see Joe come in and do his thing."

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.