Padres-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

The San Diego Padres hope Casey Kelly's impressive major league debut is only the beginning of good things to come for the talented right-hander.

Kelly looks to build on that stellar performance Sunday when the Padres face the Colorado Rockies in a decisive series finale at Coors Field.

Considered to be San Diego's top minor league prospect and a key piece in the 2010 deal that sent All-Star Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, Kelly (1-0, 0.00 ERA) allowed three hits, two walks and struck out four in six innings of a 3-0 home victory over Atlanta in his major league debut Monday.

"It came quick,'' said Kelly, who missed three months this season with a strained right elbow. "Just from the beginning of the year, my goal was to come up here. The injury was something that kind of put a hold on everything. I was just focused on coming back healthy and throwing good off the mound. Once I got the call I was very, very excited.''

The Padres (62-72) should be excited to again hand the ball to Kelly, who turns 23 next month, when he attempts to help them bounce back from Saturday's 9-1 loss at Colorado and win their fourth straight series.

San Diego managed six hits against Jhoulys Chacin and three relievers while falling for the second time in 12 games. Will Venable hit his ninth and homer and Cameron Maybin added two hits for the Padres.

Venable has batted .439 (18 for 41) with two homers in 11 games since he went 2 for 18 in his previous seven contests. Maybin has five hits in eight at-bats through the first two games of the set, but is 0 for 4 against scheduled Colorado starter Jeff Francis (5-4, 5.44).

The left-hander has gone five innings in each of his last two starts thanks to manager Jim Tracy's 75-pitch limit, but he's allowed one total run in those outings. He gave up three hits and struck out six while throwing 91 pitches during a 10-0 win over Los Angeles on Monday.

"Within our role on this team, it's our job. That's what we go out there to do," said Francis, who is 2-0 with a 4.07 ERA in his last five starts. "It's weird to stand here and think I did a really good job - I threw five innings.''

Francis allowed three hits over six scoreless innings of a 10-2 victory over the Padres at Coors Field on June 29. However, he was tagged for five in five innings of an 8-6, 12-inning win at San Diego on July 21.

Dexter Fowler hit a grand slam while Tyler Colvin also homered and drove in three runs Saturday for the Rockies (54-77), who snapped a three-game home skid against the Padres. Colvin is batting .375 (9 for 24) with two home runs and nine RBIs in his last six contests.

Teammate Josh Rutledge added three hits, and is 9 for 20 (.450) in his last five games.

Jason Giambi delivered a pinch-hit single on Saturday in his first game since missing more than a month with a viral infection.

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