DENVER (AP) - With their biggest bats out of the lineup because of injuries, the Colorado Rockies have leaned on their younger players. The growing pains accompanying that shift have been playing out in the season's final days but there has been some promise.
On Tuesday night, the Rockies' youthful lineup was overmatched for the most part by Mat Latos, who tossed 8 2-3 shutout innings in the San Diego Padres' 2-1 victory over Colorado, which lost its sixth straight.
Latos (8-14) got just his third win since June 27 despite stringing together 10 straight quality starts. He struck out a season-high nine and came within a pitch of his second career complete game.
But he was on the ropes at the end, giving up a two-out RBI single to rookie Jordan Pacheco, the last batter he faced. Heath Bell allowed a single to Kevin Kouzmanoff before fanning Willin Rosario on a fastball that was over the young batter's head for his 40th save.
``It's always nice to be part of those close games and see how you handle certain situations, see how the team reacts,' Pacheco said. ``It's too bad we lost tonight, but we're still fighting to the end. We made it interesting.'
Pacheco said Latos deserved credit for a strong outing.
``He's a good pitcher,' Pacheco said. ``That's the first time I've seen him. He was throwing strikes. He was pitching in, and he was just executing and so you've just got to tip your hat sometimes.'
Latos had the advantage of facing a Colorado lineup devoid of star power. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (left hip), first baseman Todd Helton (back) and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (right wrist) were all out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game. Tulowitzki pinch-hit in the eighth, the first time he has played since Sept. 13.
The three have combined for 70 home runs and 266 RBIs, and Gonzalez, who is hitting .295, is the only one of the three hitting below .300.
With the trio out, manager Jim Tracy has used a patchwork lineup. The Rockies used four positions players in Tuesday's game who were called up from Triple-A within the last month. Three of them made their major-league debuts in the last two weeks.
``There's an awful lot of young guys out there,' Tracy said. ``They've handled themselves extremely well but we're not sitting in the dugout thinking this lineup we're running out there is going to throw six, seven, eight runs up there. The experience that we're gaining with some of these young people is definitely invaluable.'
The Padres didn't need much offense against Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin to win for the fourth time in the last five games.
``We're at the end. It's a grind. It's a long season, especially when you've got a lot of guys hurt,' Pacheco said. ``You've just got to go out there and play hard and not put so much pressure on yourself to get things done and just go out there and play.'
Jason Bartlett scored on Hudson's single in the first to make it 1-0, and Hudson and Jeremy Hermida hit consecutive doubles in the sixth to make it 2-0.
Chacin (11-13) allowed one earned run and six hits, struck out four and walked two in six innings.
The Rockies spoiled the shutout bid in the ninth. Dexter Fowler hit a bloop double to center with one out, Seth Smith struck out and Pacheco singled up the middle on a 1-2 pitch to score Fowler.
The Rockies had runners at the corners and one out in the eighth, but Latos struck out Tulowitzki looking and got Eric Young, who had two hits, to ground out to end the inning.
Notes: Padres 1B Kyle Bass left in the first inning with a right quadriceps strain. ... Rockies RHP Juan Nicasio had his neck brace removed Tuesday. Nicasio suffered a fractured vertebra when he was struck in the head by a line drive Aug. 5. ... RHP Anthony Bass will start for San Diego in the series finale Wednesday. Aaron Cook throws for the Rockies in what could be his final home start for Colorado. Cook is the franchise leader in wins, starts and innings pitched but has struggled in the last year of his contract.
The Associated Press News Service
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