After a 3-2 road trip during which their pitchers continued their run of dominance, the San Diego Padres return home for a three-game series with baseball's worst road team.
Chances for extending their recent success seem high with Jesse Hahn getting the ball Monday night looking to further his impressive rookie season against the lowly Colorado Rockies.
They'll also have a new bat to deploy against the shaky Colorado pitching staff with outfield prospect Rymer Liriano set for a promotion.
Liriano, the organization's No. 6 prospect according to MLB.com, hit .292 with 14 home runs, 66 RBIs and 20 steals with Triple-A El Paso and Double-A San Antonio.
San Diego (54-62) continued to distance itself from Colorado (46-71) and Arizona at the bottom of the NL West by capturing two of three in a weekend series in Pittsburgh. Sunday's 8-2 victory was its eighth in 11 games.
"We're just playing good baseball," manager Bud Black said.
Most of that good baseball has been pitching related. The Padres have an MLB-best 2.03 ERA while allowing two runs or fewer seven times in that span.
Hahn (7-3, 2.28 ERA), however, hasn't limited his success to a few weeks. The right-hander hasn't allowed over three runs since his debut on June 3, though he's had some control issues with 13 walks in 24 2-3 innings over his last four starts. The 25-year-old has managed it by allowing no more than four hits in those outings, which has his season opponents' batting average at a meager .184.
"He's done great work for a rookie pitcher that, coming into Spring Training, wasn't as high on the radar as other players," Black told MLB's official website. "So it's a tribute to Jesse that he's broken through when given the opportunity."
Tuesday's 3-1 loss in Minnesota, though, fell on his shoulders after surrendering three runs and four hits with four walks in 5 2-3 innings.
San Diego turns its attention to the Rockies having won five of seven in the series at PETCO Park with a 1.86 ERA.
The Rockies, tied with Texas for the worst record in baseball, are an MLB-worst 18-41 on the road and haven't won consecutive away games since a three-game sweep of San Francisco from June 13-15. They're 3-20 since with an average of 2.91 runs.
Jordan Lyles hasn't made a road start in that stretch, and his presence could help. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in seven starts away from Coors Field this season.
Lyles (6-1, 3.72) returned for Wednesday's 13-4 win over the Chicago Cubs after a two-month absence with a broken non-pitching hand. The 23-year-old earned the decision but wasn't at his best, allowing four runs and six hits in six innings.
He was able to throw in his time away, so he worked on developing a new changeup.
"This year my changeup hadn't been too great," Lyles said. "I wanted to figure out a way to offset my fastball, cutter and my harder curveball to get that gap in between speeds."
Against the Padres, Lyles has been hit hard over five career starts, going 1-3 with a 6.93 ERA and .421 opponents' on-base percentage.
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez's throw-away season continued Sunday when he was placed on the disabled list with left knee tendinitis.
Padres first baseman Tommy Medica missed Sunday after a pitch hit him in the head Saturday night, and shortstop Everth Cabrera was scratched with a left hamstring cramp.
San Diego's Seth Smith is batting .464 with four home runs, five doubles and nine RBIs in 10 games against his former team.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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