Padres-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

The Colorado Rockies were hoping a healthy Troy Tulowitzki would give them one of baseball's better offenses this season. So far, his hot bat as helped the team to a fast start.

Tulowitzki looks to lead the Rockies to a fourth straight win Saturday night as Jon Garland will make his first start in nearly two years against a San Diego Padres lineup that has been anemic.

Colorado (3-1) defeated the Padres 5-2 in Friday's home opener, which saw first-year manager Walt Weiss and other former players honored as part of the team's 20th anniversary celebration.

There has been no shortage of production for Colorado, which is averaging 6.0 runs while hitting .327 with 10 home runs. Tulowitzki has been impressive after a groin injury and ensuing surgery limited him to 47 games last year, going 6 for 16 (.375) with two home runs and six RBIs.

Catcher Wilin Rosario is also off to a good start after a superb 2012 rookie season in which he hit 28 home runs. He is 6 for 12 and hit his second homer on Friday batting in the No. 7 spot for the second time.

"Rosario is not going to be a No. 7 hitter for real long in his career," Weiss said. "He's an impressive kid. He's got crazy power."

The Padres, meanwhile, are in dire need of a power surge

San Diego, off to its second straight 1-3 start, has just one home run and is 6 for 35 with runners in scoring position (.171), a problem that also plagued the squad last year as it hit .233 in those situations.

Manager Bud Black's team was 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position Friday, continuing to struggle without Chase Headley, who fractured his left thumb in a spring game on March 17.

"If you can get the tying run to the plate here, you never know," Black said. "Leads here (at Coors Field) are tenuous."

Headley will undergo an X-ray on Monday to check on the healing process. He told the team's official website he aims to return by the end the month.

Garland, who pitched for San Diego in 2010, is making his first start since June 1, 2011, against Colorado, as he underwent shoulder surgery that forced him to miss all of last season. He recorded a 2.25 ERA across four starts this spring for Seattle, which released him March 23. The right-hander, who signed a one-year deal with the Rockies the next day, is 2-4 with a 3.68 ERA in seven career starts against San Diego.

The Padres will trot out a new addition of their own in right-hander Tyson Ross, acquired from Oakland in a trade in November. Ross went 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA in 13 starts for Oakland last year.

He'll hope to see better defense behind him than Padres starter Jason Marquis did on Friday. All three of Colorado's third-inning runs against Marquis were unearned after a bobbled groundball by shortstop Everth Cabrera. San Diego committed 121 errors last season, second-most in baseball behind the Rockies' 122.

Todd Helton, who may have played in his final home opener with the Rockies on Friday as he's in the final year of his contract, is batting .115 in seven games against San Diego since the start of last season.

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