Kelly bests Pomeranz to push Padres past Rockies

Colorado falls one run short

Casey Kelly held Colorado scoreless through six before allowing three runs in the seventh, and the Padres held on for a 4-3 victory on Saturday. Enlarge photo

Alex Gallardo/Associate Press

Casey Kelly held Colorado scoreless through six before allowing three runs in the seventh, and the Padres held on for a 4-3 victory on Saturday.

SAN DIEGO – The results don’t look good, but Colorado’s Drew Pomeranz believes there has been improvement.

The Rockies left-hander lasted only three innings, while his rookie counterpart Casey Kelly carried a shutout into the seventh inning, leading the San Diego Padres to a 4-3 win over Colorado on Saturday night.

Pomeranz (1-9) dropped his sixth consecutive decision – and Colorado lost for the eighth time in its last 10 games – but he felt the results, which included giving up a three-run homer to Jesus Guzman, don’t match the reality.

“Three broken bats and a home run,” Pomeranz said in assessing his outing. “That one swing (Guzman), it was a pretty mean swing. That was his first swing all night.”

Pomeranz was pulled after three innings with his pitch count at 67. The rookie allowed four runs on four hits with three strikeouts, two walks and a wild pitch. The Rockies have employed a 75-pitch limit on their starters since just past mid-June.

“We paid for two pitches,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy said, referring to Guzman’s home run and a base hit by Cameron Maybin in the second after which he scored on Andy Parrino’s double.

“He used an awful lot of pitches in three innings, and you’re nearing that 75, 80 pitches in three innings,” Tracy said. “There were times he struggled.”

Kelly (2-1), making his fourth major league start, kept the Rockies off balance with a mixture of fastballs and curveballs. Colorado advanced just one runner to third base against Kelly through six innings.

Colorado finally reached the rookie for three runs in the seventh.

Kelly allowed three runs – two earned – on seven hits over six-plus innings. He struck out six in winning for the first time since his major league debut Aug. 27.

“He had a terrific breaking ball early,” Tracy said. “On his two-strike pitches, he did a great job of making them strikes out of his hand.”

Luke Gregerson pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in 12 chances.

The Rockies need to win 10 of their last 18 games to avoid tying the franchise’s worst record at 67-95.

San Diego has won eight of 10 overall and 12 of 15 at Petco Park.

Guzman homered to center in the third inning off Pomeranz to give San Diego a 4-0 lead.

“A home run ball that was outside,” Pomeranz said. “Sometimes it happens that way. It wasn’t a bad pitch. It wasn’t even in the strike zone. I don’t know how he hit it so far.”

Parrino committed a fielding error at short, and Tyler Colvin followed with a single to start the Rockies’ seventh.

Chris Nelson then doubled in one run, and Charlie Blackmon had an RBI single to knock Kelly out of the game. Brad Brach came in and gave up DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-3 before getting the final two outs.

San Diego scored in the second inning after a scary collision between second baseman LeMahieu and right fielder Blackmon.

With Cameron Maybin on first with a two-out single, Parrino hit a popup into shallow right field. As LeMahieu and Blackmon converged to make the catch, they rammed their shoulders full force into each other. Blackmon fell to the grass, but LeMahieu stayed on his feet and got the ball into the infield as Parrino ended up with a double.

Willin Rosario’s 2-for-4 effort wasn’t enough to lift Colorado past San Diego, which won Saturday’s game 4-3. Enlarge photo

Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Willin Rosario’s 2-for-4 effort wasn’t enough to lift Colorado past San Diego, which won Saturday’s game 4-3.