Bass shuts down Rockies as Padres win, 4-0

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DENVER (AP)—Anthony Bass(notes) is a reliever making spot starts.

Or, he’s a starter biding his time in the bullpen until a permanent spot opens up in the rotation.

The San Diego Padres haven’t quite figured out what to do with the rookie just yet. But it’s a nice dilemma to have.

Bass pitched five solid innings to start the San Diego Padres on their way to completing a rare three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 4-0 win Wednesday in the final game of the season at Coors Field.

The 23-year-old Bass (2-0) cruised through this game, allowing just two hits and throwing an economical 52 pitches before leaving after a leadoff walk in the sixth. Both of his major league wins have now come at Colorado.

Reliable reliever or solid starter?

It’s a decision the Padres have until next spring to ponder.

“He’s in the mix,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “Whether he’s in the mix to start or in the mix for our ‘pen, I think he could be a valuable member of our pitching staff.”

Bass said it really doesn’t matter to him—he just wants a spot.

“I started most of my career. I feel real comfortable starting,” Bass said. “But it doesn’t mean I would not like going to the bullpen either and helping out the team in the pen as well.”

Anthony Rizzo(notes) and Andy Parrino(notes) had RBI singles for the Padres, who earned their first sweep of three or more games in Denver since April 2001.

The reeling Rockies have dropped seven straight at home, their longest drought ever at Coors. The team lost nine in a row at home in their inaugural season of 1993 when they played at old Mile High Stadium.

Aaron Cook(notes) (3-10) settled down after a rough first inning in which he surrendered four runs. He tied a career high with eight strikeouts before being pulled after the fifth in what might have been his last start for the Rockies at home.

The sinkerball specialist has had a tough season in the final year of his contract.

And given the disappointing season by the Rockies—a trendy pick to win the NL West in spring training—the team could be looking to shake things up. Cook is the team’s all-time leader in wins (72), innings pitched (1,312 1-3) and starts (206).

He said emotions didn’t get the better of him on the mound. He actually was able to treat this like any another game.

“One thing I’ve tried to pride myself on over the years is to take emotion out of any pitch or any game,” Cook said. “Just go out there and play like I did when I was a little kid.”

Colorado had All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki(notes) back in the lineup after he missed a week with a sore left hip. He flied out twice before being pulled in the sixth inning.

That was part of Rockies manager Jim Tracy’s plan. He didn’t want to overwork Tulowitzki and risk further injury.

Same with first baseman Todd Helton(notes) (back) and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez(notes) (right wrist), who were held out of the lineup Wednesday. Tracy doesn’t want to do anything that could jeopardize his star players with the Rockies out of the postseason picture.

“You want to be respectable as you possibly can as you go through the finish line of the season,” Tracy said. “But the reality is, when you go to spring training of 2012, 30 teams are 0-0 and you start over again.

“What you don’t want to do is do something foolish to win 72 versus 73 games and ruin a significant piece for a great portion of 2012 over that one extra win.”

Bass made his major league debut in this stadium on June 13. Right after picking up his first win, he was sent back to Double-A San Antonio.

But Bass soon returned and has been solid in 24 relief appearances for the Padres. He was pitching well enough Wednesday to keep going but hasn’t thrown more than 45 pitches in a game since mid July.

After allowing a walk to Chris Iannetta(notes) to start the sixth, Bass was lifted for reliever Ernesto Frieri(notes), who gave up a single before retiring the side.

“The right decision,” Bass said.

Heath Bell(notes) was summoned into the game in the ninth with runners on first and third and one out. He struck out pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton(notes) and Seth Smith(notes) to earn his 41st save in 46 chances.

Cook has been with the Rockies for the last 10 seasons. He started a game for Colorado in the 2007 World Series and another in the ’09 postseason. He also pitched in the ’08 All-Star Game.

“I hope it isn’t his last start,” Tulowitzki said. “He’s meant so much to this organization.”

NOTES: Rockies RHP Alex White(notes), who was acquired in the Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) trade with Cleveland, will throw Thursday in Houston against Henry Sosa(notes). … Padres 1B Jesus Guzman(notes) was a late scratch due to a sore neck. … The Rockies finished 38-43 at home.

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