Road woes continue in finale vs. Padres

Matzek fans nine, but allows five runs in six innings as Rox fall

Road woes continue in finale vs. Padres

SAN DIEGO -- There isn't a safe place for the Rockies these days, but they have to be happy to get the heck off the road.

Rymer Liriano crushed his first career home run into the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in left at Petco Park, and Abraham Almonte hit his first homer in a Padres uniform as the Rockies fell, 5-3, in front of 23,902 on Wednesday.

The three-game sweep at the hands of the Padres, who have sizzled at 16-8 since the All-Star break, left the Rockies 1-5 on a National League West road trip against the D-backs and the Padres. The Rockies will begin a nine-game, 11-day homestand Thursday against the Reds.

The last time they were home, the Rockies dropped two of three to the Cubs, but the atmosphere this weekend could be brighter. During the Saturday and Sunday games, the Rockies will celebrate the retirement of longtime star first baseman Todd Helton's No. 17.

The team is in need of something good. After Wednesday's game, Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said that All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his left hip labrum and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez's left knee condition has worsened, so the team's medical staff will meet Thursday before deciding the next step.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy struck out eight in six innings, and the Rockies fanned a total of 13 times in what has been a tremendous struggle on the road.

During this trip and a 1-6 record in visits to the Cubs and Tigers the last time they gassed up their plane, the Rockies struck out a total of 150 times -- 68 this trip -- and batted .209 (97-for-464).

"We've talked about competing with two strikes and our average is pretty decent with two strikes, but we've been striking out entirely too much lately," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.

"We're better offensively than we've been showing," said Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who hit his fourth homer of the season during a two-run fifth that helped tie the game at 3. "It seems like whenever we need the big hit and someone hits it hard, it's right at someone. And when we do get the big hit, it seems like it's not always the big one.

"We're on a streak where it's just not going our way, and it's getting in our heads a little bit."

Rockies rookie starter Tyler Matzek struck out nine in six innings, but he gave up five runs on eight hits. The hits included Liriano's homer in the fourth inning and Almonte's in the sixth.

"I felt really good, felt like I was hitting my spots," Matzek said. "The first inning was a little rough [three hits and a walk] but after that I settled in. I had good control of the slider today."

Padres manager Bud Black saw Matzek as a bright spot for the Rockies.

"He's got a good slider and a good fastball, but right off the bat, we put some pressure on him," Black said. "He's a good one. He'll be around for a while. He's got a good arm."

LeMahieu's homer, which led off the fifth against Kennedy, brought the Rockies within one, and Justin Morneau's RBI double tied it. But Jedd Gyorko, who had his second career four-hit game (the other was against the Rockies last June 7 at Coors Field), doubled to open the fifth and scored on Yasmani Grandal's sacrifice fly to give the Padres the lead for good.

All the Rockies' offensive news wasn't bad. Corey Dickerson had two hits as he and Morneau ran their hit streaks to eight games. But after Dickerson's first hit to open the sixth, Michael McKenry lined to center and Dickerson was doubled off first when he pulled up shy of the bag in odd fashion.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.