Flande denied first big league win as offense struggles

Loss gives Rockies their worst road record in franchise history

Flande denied first big league win as offense struggles

SAN DIEGO -- The Rockies' road season was summed up best by Wilin Rosario's groundhog-ish Wednesday night. Rosario came up empty in scoring situations, twice with two out, in a 4-3 loss to the Padres at Petco Park. The defeat assured the Rockies of the worst road record in their history.

Rosario grounded into a fielder's choice with runners at first and second in the fourth. He popped to the shortstop, and Josh Rutledge flied solidly to center after him in the sixth. Finally, with runners at second and third with two down in the eighth, Rosario swung hopelessly at a Kevin Quackenbush curveball off the plate.

It just happened to be Rosario's turn Wednesday to come up dry, but there have been lots of empty nights as the Rockies have gone 21-57 on the road.

But Charlie Blackmon, who led off the first with his 19th homer of the season (which ties the Brewers' Carlos Gomez for most in the Majors from the leadoff spot), noted that it's more difficult to produce when everyone isn't available. The Rockies have more playoff trips in their 22 years (three) than winning road seasons (one).

This year, the Rockies are going to finish with Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and, most likely, Nolan Arenado unable to finish the year in uniform because of injuries, and they missed Michael Cuddyer for significant periods.

"It wasn't like we had the No. 26 guy on the roster get hurt; we're talking big guns," Blackmon said. "Three times with runners in scoring position with two outs. Say we have Troy in the lineup; I won't say he's automatic, but he's the next best thing to that.

"Then again, the guys who are playing because he's not playing are playing pretty well. We hit some balls hard tonight. Rut [Rutledge] hit a ball hard. Barnes hit a ball hard. Rutledge hit some balls hard yesterday with guys on base. It's just bad luck."

Still, the Rockies have a chance to avoid the National League West cellar for the first time since 2011. They head into a season-ending three-game series with the Dodgers starting Friday two games better than the last-place D-backs.

After Blackmon put the Rockies ahead, Rockies lefty Yohan Flande (0-6), hoping to break into the win column to finish his rookie year, yielded Tommy Medica's three-run shot in the bottom of the first.

"He [Flande] has been pretty stingy early in games, but Medica got the barrel to that ball on the inner half and hit it out," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It's always tough to score runs here. That was a big shot."

The Padres led 4-1 in the sixth when Rafael Ynoa and Justin Morneau drew one-out walks from Padres starter Joe Wieland (1-0), who gave up three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Cuddyer and Corey Dickerson, who had three hits apiece, followed with RBI singles off R.J. Alvarez, but Rosario and Rutledge could not provide more scoring.

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.