A struggling offense contributed to the Colorado Rockies’ recent slump, but their bats appear to be re-energized.
Looking to build off their best hitting performance in nearly a month, the Rockies aim to take the finale of their three-game home series against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.
Colorado (69-83) batted .218 and was outscored 54-27 while losing eight of its previous nine contests, but pounded out 14 hits in Tuesday’s 10-3 victory over San Diego (58-94) to split the first two contests of this set.
Chris Iannetta hit his first career grand slam and Jeff Baker had a three-run homer for the Rockies, who hadn’t totaled as many hits since they had 15 in an 8-5 home loss to Cincinnati on Aug. 22. It was also their highest-scoring game since a 13-6 win at Washington on Aug. 16.
To make it two in a row for the first time since Sept. 1-2, Colorado hands the ball to Livan Hernandez (11-11, 6.21 ERA). He’s pitching in place of Jeff Francis, who will be shut down for the rest of the year for precautionary reasons.
Francis missed nearly six weeks earlier this season with left shoulder inflammation, and said he experienced soreness while losing his previous two starts.
Meanwhile, Hernandez takes the mound after an ineffective outing in Atlanta last Wednesday that resulted in his brief removal from the rotation. He was reached for four runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings but didn’t factor in the 9-5 loss.
“I told him we were going to make a change because we weren’t getting the results we wanted to get when we made the move,” manager Clint Hurdle told the Rockies’ official Web site. “It wasn’t from lack of effort.”
The right-hander is 1-3 with a 9.85 ERA in six outings since being acquired off of waivers from Minnesota on Aug. 6.
Hernandez hopes for better results versus the Padres. He is 11-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 23 career starts against them, but conceded a season-high nine runs and seven hits, while issuing four walks in 2 2-3 innings of a 16-7 loss at Coors Field on Aug. 10.
San Diego totaled 18 hits on Monday, but was held to six as it lost for the fourth time in five games despite another big night from Adrian Gonzalez.
The first baseman hit a two-run homer, and has batted .417 (10-for-24) with five homers and 12 RBIs during a six-game hitting streak. He is also 14-for-35 (.400) with three homers and 11 RBIs in eight games at Coors Field.
Gonzalez leads San Diego with 34 homers and 111 RBIs.
The Padres are still trying to avoid the 100-loss mark for the first time since finishing with 101 in 1993.
They send rookie Josh Geer (2-0, 3.18) to the mound for his fourth career start - and second against the Rockies. The right-hander held them to two runs and five hits, while striking out five over five frames of a 9-4 home victory on Aug. 30 in his debut.
On Thursday, Geer limited San Francisco to two runs and nine hits over seven innings of an 11-3 home win.