DENVER (AP) — Ian Kennedy was hitting his spots and shutting down Colorado’s potent offense. It wasn’t enough against a young pitcher who was even sharper.
Kennedy pitched well into the seventh before an error helped break open a close game and the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-0 on Sunday.
Chris Rusin pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game and Carlos Gonzalez homered for the Rockies, who snapped a six-game losing streak.
Kennedy (7-11) was nearly as effective as Rusin before faltering in the seventh. He retired the first 11 batters before Gonzalez hit a 1-0 fastball over the center-field wall in the bottom of the fourth to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. It was Gonzalez’s 27th of the season and 23rd since June 1.
“I had good fastball location and my curve was good,” Kennedy said. “When I threw my changeup, it was good. The other guy was a lot better today.”
It was the first complete game by a Rockies pitcher since Tyler Matzek blanked the Padres on Sept. 5, 2014. Rusin (4-5), who won for the first time since June 21 against Milwaukee, threw 106 pitches. He retired the final 10 batters and struck out Justin Upton and Jedd Gyorko to end it.
The left-hander walked one and also singled and scored in the eighth inning.
The last three shutouts at Coors Field have been against San Diego.
“Ian was as good as I’ve seen him,” manager Pat Murphy said. “It’s very tough to take when he pitched so well. He pitched like a winning pitcher. He went back to his locker disappointed he didn’t get that result.”
The Padres thought they tied it in the top of the sixth. Rusin retired the first two batters and then allowed two singles and a four-pitch walk. Before his first offering to Gyorko with the bases loaded, second base umpire Lance Barrett called a balk, allowing the runners to advance a base.
Rusin told Barrett he was pitching from the windup, which allows him to have one continuous motion.
“His motion from the full windup and his motion from the stretch is a very similar setup,” Murphy said.
The umpires had a conference near third base and reversed the call, bringing out Murphy. After arguing his case he was ejected by third base umpire Dan Iassogna.
“Our argument was he already called the balk,” Murphy said. “It is a deception to the hitter to not know because it looks exactly the same in the setup. The hitter doesn’t know if he’s in the stretch or the full. So if he’s not going to declare our hitter is at a disadvantage.”
Rusin then got Gyorko to ground out to end the inning with Colorado still leading 1-0. San Diego didn’t get another baserunner.
The Rockies blew it open in the seventh after first baseman Derek Norris dropped Nolan Arenado’s bases-empty popup with two outs. Ben Paulsen doubled to left, DJ LeMahieu was intentionally walked and Michael McKenry hit a bases-clearing double to right-center to make it 4-0.
“Today we lost, but I gave our team a chance,” Kennedy said. “Just frustrated I couldn’t pick up Derek Norris in the seventh.”
Padres: INF Yonder Alonso was not in the starting lineup but Murphy said he was fine after taking a helmet off the head in the dugout Saturday night. Upton, who was upset after getting tagged in a rundown in the eighth inning, slammed his batting helmet to the floor and it bounced up and hit Alonso in the head. Alonso was checked by Rockies doctors and found to have no concussion symptoms.
Padres: RHP Colin Rea (1-0, 5.40) opens a three-game series against Atlanta on Monday. San Diego is in the midst of playing 12 of 15 games at home.