Mark Loretta always hits best in June.
Loretta is hitting .459 this month to raise his career average in June to .353. The Padres second baseman, a career .293 hitter overall, doesn’t have an explanation for his hitting prowess in this month every year.
“It could be the weather, it could be taking a while to get into a rhythm and it could just be luck,” said Loretta.
Loretta has hit safely in 10 straight games, goings 22-for-43 with four doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs in the stretch. He hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning off Jose Jimenez as San Diego rallied to beat Colorado 7-5 in the series opener Monday.
“I didn’t know it was going to be a home run off the bat,” Loretta said. “I hit it well, but I hit it high. It was probably a Coors Field homer.”
San Diego has won consecutive wins for the first time since taking three straight April 23-25. The Padres beat the Chicago White Sox 1-0 Sunday.
Colorado has lost four of six to drop eight games behind San Francisco for first place in the NL West.
Denny Neagle was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday night so he can pitch in this game. Neagle will make his first start of the season after spending the first part of the year on the 60-day disabled list with a sore elbow.
The veteran left-hander went 8-11 with a 5.26 ERA for Colorado in 2002, and 17-19 with a 5.59 ERA the last two seasons.
Colorado’s 5.15 ERA is the third highest in the NL.
STANDINGS: Padres - 5th place, 21 1/2 GB, NL West. Rockies - 3rd place, 8 GB, NL West.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Peavy (5-5, 4.59 ERA). Peavy snapped an eight-start winless streak with a 9-4 victory over Cleveland on Thursday. The young right-hander gave up three runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings. Opponents are hitting .220 against Peavy.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Neagle (no record). Neagle is 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 26 games—including 14 starts—against San Diego. He’s 12-10 with a 5.78 ERA at Coors Field.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Loretta, .313 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 12 HRs and 38 RBIs; Rondell White and Xavier Nady, 32 runs; Ramon Vazquez and Shane Victorino, 7 SBs. Rockies - Todd Helton, .332 avg. and 57 runs; Preston Wilson, 15 HRs, 58 RBIs and 6 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Rockies, 4-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - OF Rondell White sat out Monday’s game with a sore right hamstring. He’s day-to-day. … RHP Rod Beck has saved the last two wins for San Diego. Beck is fifth among active relievers with 268 career saves. … RHP Kevin Jarvis will start Wednesday against the Rockies for the first time since being activated from the 60-day DL with a strained right elbow. Rockies - 1B Helton is tied for second in the NL with 57 runs scored. … OF Larry Walker is hitting .300 in June. He hit just .272 in April and .269 in May. … OF Wilson leads the NL with 58 RBIs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 10-25 on the road; Rockies - 25-11 at home.
INJURIES: Padres - INF Lou Merloni (knee), 15-day DL; INF Vazquez (abdominal strain), 15-day DL; OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Clay Condrey (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Phil Nevin (shoulder), 60-day DL. Rockies - INF Ronnie Belliard (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Denny Stark (side), 60-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL.