Rockies aid playoff climb by sweeping Padres

Rockies aid playoff climb by sweeping Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Melvin Mora didn't have a good feeling as Padres second baseman David Eckstein dove for his hard grounder with two out and runners at second and third in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon.

"He catches everything," Mora said.

But for three days, everything turned out right for the Rockies. All has gone wrong for the Padres a lot longer than that.

Eckstein couldn't reach what became a two-run single that gave the Rockies their first road sweep of the season in a 4-2 victory at PETCO Park.

The Rockies pulled to 4 1/2 games behind the National League West-leading Padres, who dropped their 10th straight -- their longest skid since they lost 13 in a row in 1994. Only two other teams have dropped 10 straight games during the regular season and made the playoffs, and the Padres' slide ties the 1932 Pirates for the longest losing streak by a first-place team.

The Rockies are also 5 1/2 being the Phillies in the NL wild Card chase.

"It goes without saying it was a tremendous series for us, and it has brightened the picture considerably," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy.

Even better, the Rockies are about to begin 10 straight games at Coors Field, where they are 43-22 as opposed to 29-42 on the road. Monday afternoon, ace Ubaldo Jimenez will start in the opener of a four-game set against the NL Central-leading Reds. The D-backs and Padres also will play three apiece during the homestand.

"We all know that we have a very good chance to win everything," said NL batting leader Carlos Gonzalez (.337), who had three hits while extending his hit streak to 13 games -- his third multi-hit effort in his past five games.

For the second consecutive day, the Rockies came up clutch late in a close game. In Saturday's 6-2 victory, they scored three in the seventh. On Sunday, Gonzalez singled -- he slammed his broken bat in frustration but still wound up on first base with a bloop to center -- and Troy Tulowitzki walked against reliever Tim Stauffer (3-3).

Both runners moved on a double-steal that negated a possible double-play grounder and forced the Padres to bring their infield closer to the plate. That turned out to be just enough of an adjustment to let Mora's hard grounder against Mike Adams bounce past Eckstein.

Tulowitzki was spiked on the left leg by Padres catcher Nick Hundley, who was trying to make a play, but he stayed in the game.

The Padres were also victims of a sloppiness not seen for much of the season.

"We're making some mistakes both on the mound and in the field that we haven't made before, and we need to rectify that," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Tulowtizki knocked his 14th homer of the season, a fourth-inning leadoff shot to center. Tulowitzki has hit safely in 14 of his past 15 games.

In the third, Ryan Spilborghs walked. Gonzalez singled to center, and Spilborghs took third on center fielder Chris Denorfia's fielding error. Tulowitzki grounded to third, but Spilborghs scored when Padres third baseman Chase Headley dropped the ball; he still had time to retire Tulowitzki.

"We did a great job of creating opportunities for ourselves," Tracy said.

Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (6-4) pitched six solid innings and held the Padres to two runs on six hits. The only runs came on Miguel Tejada's 12th homer of the season -- and fifth with the Padres -- for two runs in the sixth.

The leadoff batter reached against De La Rosa in the first four innings, but he forced two double plays, finished with four strikeouts and generally prevented the Padres from gaining momentum. In his past nine starts, De La Rosa is 3-2 with a 3.12 ERA and has held opponents to a .234 batting average with 54 strikeouts and 25 walks.

"It was a very solid outing -- one pitch away from zeroes," Tracy said.

Matt Belisle struck out two in two perfect innings, and Rockies closer Huston Street overcame Tejada's leadoff bunt single in the ninth for his 15th save.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.