Rockies' road woes live on despite Matzek's gem

Lefty allows a run in six innings, but Colorado bats can't get clutch hit

Rockies' road woes live on despite Matzek's gem

SAN DIEGO -- Rockies rookie pitcher Tyler Matzek doesn't have far to go home when the season ends Sunday. His Mission Viejo, Calif., home is between Petco Park -- where he threw his sixth straight strong start in a 1-0 loss to the Padres on Monday night -- and Los Angeles, where the Rockies conclude the year with a weekend series with the Dodgers.

Matzek (6-11) struck out eight and held the Padres to one run in six innings on Monday. After debuting on June 11 to help an injury-affected pitching staff, Matzek went through growing pains. But in his final half-dozen starts, he went 4-2 with a 1.55 ERA in 40 2/3 innings with 38 strikeouts and 14 walks.

"I wouldn't mind if the season kept going," said Matzek, 23, who punctuated the outing by ignoring a developing blister, striking out two with the bases loaded to end the sixth.

As for Rockies hitters, the only way they could possibly welcome the season continuing is if all games were played at Coors Field. This is a road season the Rockies need to end.

Before Monday, the Rockies had tied a season high by winning six straight, but all those were at Coors Field. The last road trip, however, was a winless six-gamer and Monday's loss took their road skid to eight games. At 20-56 on the road, the Rockies will need to win all five remaining games -- two more with the Padres, three with the National League West-leading Dodgers -- to merely tie the 2003 club, whose 25-56 away record sits as worst in franchise history.

The Rockies outhit the Padres, 10-5, but went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and saw three threats fizzle.

Padres starter Eric Stults (8-17) fanned Josh Rutledge with the bases loaded to end the fifth. Reliever Nick Vincent escaped with two on in the seventh when right fielder Rymer Liriano nabbed Rutledge's liner.

Finally, Justin Morneau, whose two hits brought his batting average to an NL-leading .320 (two points higher than the Pirates' Josh Harrison), doubled off Frank Garces to open the eighth, but Michael Cuddyer and Corey Dickerson popped to infielders and Michael McKenry flied to center.

"If we would have had some guys on base earlier -- and we only did that two or three times -- we would have been able to do something," Dickerson said.

Rene Rivera's two-out RBI double in the first, after Jedd Gyorko had walked, provided the only Padres run.

Matzek faced bases loaded and one out in the sixth, but fanned Tommy Medica with a changeup and two fastballs, and caught Liriano looking at a third-strike slider. Matzek had abandoned the slider earlier in the inning because of the blister, but, "I just said, whatever, I'm going to rip on it right here. I didn't care that the blister was there."

Manager Walt Weiss said, "He did a great job, especially getting through that sixth, making some pitches at the big part of the game."

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