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Tulo's stellar defense invaluable for Rockies

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SAN DIEGO -- A pair of second-inning plays by Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on Tuesday night -- one when he dashed behind second base to rob the Padres' Nick Hundley, the other when he barehanded a Robbie Erlin bouncer that deflected off the left hand of pitcher Juan Nicasio -- demonstrated why any game he plays is a chance to see something special.

The Rockies' decision to sit Tulowitzki a few games recently because of tightness in his right quadriceps earned the shortstop much criticism on social media. But keeping him healthy for such plays is a priority for the Rockies, who can't and won't succumb to howling.

Manager Walt Weiss said this isn't any ordinary shortstop.

"He's been showing that since the spring that he's feeling real good, moving real well," Weiss said. "Those were tough chances last night. I know, playing the position, to convert those plays into outs is very difficult. Not only does he have the strong arm, but the quick release. That one play up the middle, the ball was in his glove and gone. That's what it takes to finish those plays.

"That's what I like about him. He's got the ability to finish plays -- not only get to the ball, but finish plays."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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