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Rockies battling back into contention

Rockies battling back into contention

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies roll into San Diego for a three-game set with the Padres on a rampage. They've won nine of 12 and have made up three games on the Arizona Diamondbacks over the past six games.

Like last year, the Rockies seem to respond best when their collective backs are slammed up against the wall.

"That seems to be the reality of it, but it's not the game plan," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're disappointed in the way we played earlier. Now there's nowhere else to look and somehow we've found a way to respond to the challenge. I don't know whether to laugh or cry."

Hurdle also reaffirmed his intentions of using Livan Hernandez down the stretch.

"Somebody said by using Livan we've given up on the season," Hurdle said. "How lame is that? Livan is a big-time pitcher, and giving him an opportunity means sticking with him four or five starts, especially with a pitcher of his pedigree."

All-Star Aaron Cook goes against the Padres on Friday and brings impressive career numbers to bear against them. He's 10-4 with a 2.73 ERA against San Diego.

Pitching matchup
COL: RHP Aaron Cook (15-8, 3.91 ERA)
Cook wasn't able to make it past the fifth inning for the third straight game Saturday against the Reds. He grinded through five innings, giving up four runs (three earned). Cook has been plagued by fatigue and back stiffness the past few weeks, but he said there were positive signs from his latest outing. Rather than missing up in the strike zone, like he had in his previous three outings, many of his pitches were too low, which resulted in fewer big hits. He also said it's an easier adjustment to fix.

SD: RHP Dirk Hayhurst (0-0, 6.75 ERA)
Hayhurst had an interesting Major League debut Saturday against the Giants at AT&T Park, allowing three runs in four innings. Hayhurst, recalled earlier that day from Triple-A Portland, was on a pitch count since most of his work this season in Portland had been in relief. He allowed five hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Tidbits
Right-hander Matt Herges will join the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox for a rehab assignment in Las Vegas on Friday. The plan calls for him to pitch in two of three games over the weekend and join the Rockies on Sept. 2 in Denver. ... Right-hander Jason Grilli has not allowed a hit over his last six innings and given up one hit in his last nine innings. ... The Rockies will send seven players and pitching coach Doug Linton (Class A Asheville) to the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League. The players are right-hander Shane Lindsay (Asheville); right-hander Ryan Matthews (Double-A Tulsa); right-hander Chaz Roe (Tulsa); right-hander Casey Weathers (Tulsa); catcher Mike McKenny (Class A Modesto); infielder Chris Nelson (Tulsa); and outfielder Eric Young Jr. (Tulsa).

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN

On radio
• KOA 850

Up next
• Saturday: Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 9-11, 3.95) at Padres (Jake Peavy, 9-9, 2.84), 8:05 p.m. MT
• Sunday: Rockies (Jeff Francis, 4-8, 5.36) at Padres (TBD), 2:05 p.m. MT
• Monday: Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa, 7-7, 5.60) vs. Giants (Jonathan Sanchez, 8-9, 4.53), 1:05 p.m. MT

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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