Padres beat up in rubber match
Branyan's blunders open up four-run sixth for Rockies
DENVER -- After watching Rockies starting pitcher Aaron Cook limit the Padres to two runs Wednesday, San Diego manager Bud Black commented that it was "a little bit too much Cook today."
Actually, it wasn't very much of him at all.
Cook needed a franchise-record-low 74 pitches to earn a complete-game victory, as Colorado hung a 10-2 loss on the reeling Padres before a crowd of 28,162 at Coors Field.
Cook's low pitch total marked the fewest pitches thrown by any Major League pitcher in a nine-inning complete game since Carlos Silva of the Twins threw the same amount in a victory over Milwaukee on May 20, 2005.
"It was something cool to watch," Colorado pitcher Jeff Francis said. "You usually see teams take a step back and not swing as much, but, gosh, they never stopped swinging and he never stopped throwing strikes."
Of course, Cook's effort -- at least from the Padres' perspective -- was overshadowed by the news that San Diego consummated a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers during the game, dealing veteran reliever Scott Linebrink for three Minor League pitchers.
As for Cook, he allowed two runs in the first inning as the Padres (54-46) began the game with three consecutive hits. San Diego managed only five more hits the rest of the way as Cook (7-6) cruised.
"He had the power sinker going and he threw a ton of strikes," Black said of Cook. "He kept getting better. We just couldn't get anything going."
That included defense as well, as San Diego committed three errors. That didn't count the misplayed ball by Russell Branyan in left field in Colorado's four-run sixth inning.
"It was smoked," Black said of Holliday's hit. "It looked to me that Russ broke in and the ball sailed. He's had enough time out there. It wasn't like he's never been out there."
The Rockies (51-50) sent nine batters to the plate in the inning to send the Padres to their fifth loss in their last six games. Since the All-Star break, the Padres are just 5-8.
Colorado's Matt Holliday knocked in the first run of the sixth inning with a double over the head of Branyan, who took a bad angle on the ball.
Branyan was charged with an error later in the inning on Garrett Atkins' RBI single that allowed a second run to score.
San Diego pitcher Justin Germano (6-5) was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Adrian Gonzalez knocked in a run with an RBI single and Khalil Greene brought in a run when he bounced into a double play.
But Holliday, who tied a career high with four hits, hit a solo home run off Germano in the second inning. The Rockies went on to score one run apiece in the fourth and fifth innings.
Germano pitched five innings, allowing six runs on seven hits with one walk. He faced the first three batters of the sixth inning before being replaced by Kevin Cameron.
Cameron allowed both inherited runners to score in the sixth inning, marking the first time this season that he's done so after stranding 14 baserunners. After allowing just two runs all season before Wednesday, Cameron allowed three (two earned) in 1 2/3 innings.
San Diego relievers had a combined 2.61 ERA through July 19. Over the last six games, that ERA has climbed to 3.06 as the bullpen has allowed 23 earned runs over its last 23 1/3 innings.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.