Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Stults outduels Matzek as Padres shut out Rockies

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[September 23, 2014]  SAN DIEGO -- Eric Stults has the second-worst run support average in the major leagues this season.

And Monday was more of the same for the Padres left-hander.

In 6 1/3 innings, the Padres scored one run -- that coming on a first-inning double by catcher Rene Rivera.

But Stults, and four relievers, made it hold up as the Padres defeated Colorado 1-0 in a pitching duel between Stults and fellow left-hander Tyler Matzek of the Rockies -- who threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout when last he and Stults were paired on Sept. 5 at Coors Field in Denver.

"It felt great to get that hit because Stultsy doesn't get many runs and he deserves more than that one," said Rivera of his sixth-game winning hit of the season.

"But Stultsy never says a word about the offense. He just pitches and tonight he did everything he needed to do to win."

Stults, who is also tied for the National League lead in losses, improved to 8-17 by deftly working out of several nasty jams and allowing seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.

"The bullpen did a great job," said Stults, who had been 1-4 over his last five starts with a 4.88 earned-run average. "That was a team win."

The Rockies out-hit the Padres 10-5, but were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and three times had the tying run in scoring position with less than two out.

Relievers Nick Vincent, Frank Garces, Dale Thayer and Kevin Quackenbush followed Stults with Quackenbush picking up his sixth save.

"Stults keeps you in a rocking chair," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss. "He adds and subtracts on both sides of the plate. He pitches backwards and he commands the ball.

"He was pitching tonight. He kept us off balance."

The win -- the second shutout in four games and third in their last eight at Petco Park -- enabled the Padres to tie their single-season record for wins at Petco Park. They are 47-32 -- including a 7-1 mark on this homestand and a 23-7 mark since the All-Star break at home.

The game's lone run came with two out in the bottom of the first.

Matzek (6-11) retired the first two hitters in the first on ground balls to shortstop Josh Rutledge before walking second baseman Jedd Gyorko. Rivera then hit a liner to right center, Gyorko scoring as the double rolled to the fence.

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Matzek allowed only three other hits through six innings. He issued three walks while striking out eight just 17 days after throwing a complete-game, three-hit shutout against the Padres at Coors Field in Denver. Matzek had gone 4-1 in his previous five starts with a 1.56 earned run average.

"Tyler's been real good for us and he did a great job tonight," said Weiss.

Meanwhile, Stults battled off the ropes several times.

The Rockies had runners at first and second with one out in the second on back-to-back singles by left fielder Corey Dickerson and catcher Michael McKenry. But Stults got third baseman Rafael Ynoa to pop out to third before striking out second baseman DJ LeMahieu.

The Rockies loaded the bases in the fifth on one-out singles by Ynoa and LeMahieu and a two-out, semi-intentional walk drawn by center fielder Charlie Blackmon. Stults again ended the threat with a strikeout, this time getting Rutledge swinging through a fastball on the ninth pitch of the at-bat.

Stults departed after giving up a one-out single to LeMahieu in the seventh. Right-handed reliever Nick Vincent gave up a two-out single to Blackmon, but retired Rutledge on a liner to right to strand Rockies at the corners.

The Rockies had one final chance in the eighth when Padres left fielder Tommy Medica misplayed a liner by Justin Morneau into a lead-off double off Garces. But Thayer came in and got three straight outs without pinch-runner Brandon Barnes moving.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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