video thumbnail

Venable puts one in the stands in the first

SAN DIEGO -- This isn't what the Padres had in mind when they spoke of doing what they did in 2010.

They've lost nine consecutive games, their most since dropping 10 in a row last season.

Eerily, the streaks align to nearly the same 10 days.

Will Venable homered and doubled on Saturday and Jesus Guzman hit a two-run double, but the Padres still lost to the Rockies, 5-4, at PETCO Park.

Instead of recalling the good times of 2010, when they won 90 games, the last-place Padres have summoned memories of their freefall that cost them a playoff bid.

"It's no fun," said Venable, who hit a 398-foot home run to lead off the first inning. "It isn't any different if you're in last place."

Padres pitcher Cory Luebke arrived at the ballpark in a good mood after seeing his alma mater, Ohio State, trounce Akron in its football opener.

Luebke, one of the National League's better rookies, soon got a taste of what Akron's day was like.

A line single by Todd Helton sailed past his head, dropping him to the mound as part of a 37-pitch first inning.

The Rockies, who had three laser hits and a run in the first, went on to deal the lefty his worst start of 13 this year.

"He got himself behind the 8-ball with that big pitch count in the first inning," said Padres manager Bud Black. "The stuff was good."

The 4 1/3-inning outing was Luebke's shortest since his move into the rotation two months ago. The five runs against him matched the most off him in a start this year, but in that game he went 7 1/3 innings.

Luebke had good moments, such as when he struck out the side in the second inning.

His first-inning strikeout of Troy Tulowitzki, which ended a 12-pitch duel, had to please Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley, for it came on a changeup. The pitch was outside, but it fooled the Rockies star.

Luebke forged a 2.89 ERA in 12 starts by relying on his fastball and slider; Balsley, however, wants the 26-year-old to develop his changeup and curveball.

"He has to know how good those pitches are," Balsley said, "and he's getting there."

Down, 5-2, entering the fifth, the Padres closed the gap to 5-4 against White on Guzman's double that scored Venable, who had doubled, and Aaron Cunningham, who drew a leadoff walk as a pinch-hitter.

But after White (1-1) escaped, four Rockies relievers secured the victory for the righty, who came to Colorado in the July trade that sent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians.

"He's working himself into a Major League pitcher, for sure," Black said of White, who threw several fastballs clocked in the mid-90s.

A loss Sunday would give the Padres consecutive years with 10-game losing streaks, putting them in company with the Pirates, who lost 12 in a row last year and 10 in a row this year.

The last time the Padres lost 10 in a row, they were on top of the National League West.

"We're not in any position to make the playoffs, so it's not as disappointing," reliever Luke Gregerson said, "But it's still not what you want or expect.

"You don't want to go, 'We lost, who cares?' You start doing things like that and you're just going to keep losing."

MLB.com Comments