Padres-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

Coors Field isn't home for the San Diego Padres, but they may be happy to see it after the weekend they just endured at Chavez Ravine.

Colorado Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez spent most of his weekend at home sick.

The Padres try to avoid a fifth straight loss Monday when they open a three-game series with the Rockies, who hope to have Gonzalez back in the lineup.

San Diego is a major league-worst 2-8, but six of those losses have come to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are a major league-best 9-1. The Padres gave a valiant effort Sunday, putting the first two runners on in the top of the ninth inning of a tie game before Jesus Guzman grounded into a controversial triple play on which umpire Dale Scott initially appeared to rule the ball foul.

The Dodgers went on to win 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, handing the Padres their sixth loss decided by two runs or fewer.

"We've been involved in some close games that have hinged on a key play, especially late in the game," said manager Bud Black, who got ejected arguing the triple play.

While the Padres have suffered three consecutive sweeps at Dodger Stadium, they won all three games the last time they visited Coors Field from Sept. 19-21, limiting the Rockies to three total runs.

Cory Luebke (0-1, 5.40 ERA) opened that series by allowing two runs and one hit over seven innings of an 8-2 win, and he'll get the ball again for San Diego on Monday.

Luebke hasn't been nearly that dominant in his first two starts of 2012, allowing seven runs and 13 hits over 10 innings. The right-hander labored through a 43-pitch, four-walk first inning Wednesday against Arizona, then settled down enough to last 5 1-3 and the Padres won 2-1.

The Rockies (4-5) might be thrilled to have a starter gut out 5 1-3 innings. Colorado starting pitchers have failed to make it through the fifth in three straight games and five of six.

Jeremy Guthrie (1-0, 7.84) will get the ball for the series opener. He threw seven strong innings in his season debut, a 5-3 win at Houston, but got knocked out of Tuesday's 17-8 victory over San Francisco in the fourth after giving up six runs and nine hits - two homers.

The right-hander won his only previous start against the Padres, allowing one run over eight innings for Baltimore on June 20, 2007.

Despite the spotty work from their rotation, the Rockies won the first two games of their weekend series thanks to run-scoring hits by Todd Helton in the team's last at-bat each night. Manager Jim Tracy opted to rest his 38-year-old first baseman Sunday, when Gonzalez missed his second straight game due to strep throat.

"It's basically the same as (Friday)," Tracy told the Rockies' official website. "He was sent home (Saturday) because of what he's dealing with and the fact that it is a contagious thing. So to get him out of the clubhouse, rather than allow the entire club to get infected by it, we sent him home."

Fielding a lineup that included five bench players, the Rockies failed to get an extra-base hit and lost the series finale 5-2 to Arizona.

Tracy certainly hopes Gonzalez is healthy enough to play Monday. He's 4 for 12 off Luebke, while Helton has gone 4 for 8 and Troy Tulowitzki 3 for 10 with two homers and a double.

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