DENVER – Alex White has been unable to go more than four innings in recent starts for the Colorado Rockies.
He failed even get that far against San Diego on Friday night and the Rockies went on to a 5-4 loss to the surging Padres.
After working four innings in five straight starts, White (2-7) lasted only 3 2-3 in his latest outing, giving up three runs, four hits and three walks. He was lifted after throwing 76 pitches.
"I felt like I took a step in the wrong direction tonight as a pitcher," White said after his shortest outing in seven starts since he returned from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Aug. 2. "I got to get back on track here. I had good stuff. Command, once again, is just killing me. I got to fix it, and I'm trying to get there."
White, who is 0-4 in 11 starts since his last win June 24, pitched 5 1-3 innings on Aug. 2 when he began his second tour with the Rockies this season. But he has now made six straight starts without reaching the fifth. He began the game by striking out Cabrera but needed 11 pitches to do it and finished with 18 pitches in the first, 26 in the second and 16 in the third, his final full inning.
"He's got to get the ball in the strike zone early in the count," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He has an excellent sinker; yet he has to trust that sinker."
White said his mechanics are fine, and it's a matter of gaining consistent command of his two-seam or sinking fastball.
"One time it moves one way, one time it moves a little different," White said. "I got to get it in the strike zone somehow, some way."
Clayton Richard pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Carlos Quentin homered for the Padres, who have won two straight and 10 of 11.
Jordan Pacheco, Wilin Rosario and Andrew Brown homered for Colorado, which has dropped two straight for the first time since Aug. 17-18.
"We scored four, but we hit three solo home runs," Tracy said. "There wasn't a whole lot in between. There wasn't a whole lot of threatening innings."
The Rockies stranded six runners and went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.
Brown led off the ninth with a homer against Luke Gregerson, ending his streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings. With one out, DJ LeMahieu was safe on shortstop Everth Cabrera's throwing error. But pinch hitter Charlie Blackmon flied out to left, and Gregerson earned his third save by getting Josh Rutledge to fly to center.
"Charlie Blackmon got a terrific pitch to take a swing at," Tracy said. "The pitch to Brown was a hanging slider, and Charlie got a hanging slider to hit. He just didn't quite get to it."
Richard (12-12) had his sixth consecutive strong outing to even his record following a slow start to the season. He was 6-10 after losing to the Dodgers on July 13, but came on strong in August, winning his last three starts and finishing the month 5-1.
Quentin put the Padres ahead 1-0 when he led off the second with his 15th home run of the season. They added another run when Yasmani Grandal, who walked and took second on White's wild pitch, scored on Logan Forsythe's one-out single.
Will Venable tripled with one out in the third and scored on Chase Headley's groundout to make it 3-0.
The Rockies got one back in the bottom half of inning when Josh Rutledge scored on Pacheco's grounder.
Headley and Quentin hit consecutive doubles in the fifth to extend San Diego's lead to 4-1.
Solo homers in the sixth by Pacheco and Rosario pulled Colorado to 4-3.
Maybin scored from second on an infield single by Chris Denorfia in the eighth to extend the lead to 5-3.
NOTES: The Rockies are expected to activate 1B Jason Giambi (viral infection), who last played for them July 20, from the 15-day DL and recall RHP Guillermo Moscoso from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki (groin surgery) was scheduled to play seven innings at shortstop for Colorado Springs on Friday. He will be evaluated Saturday in Denver. ... Jhoulys Chacin (1-4) will start Saturday for the Rockies against Edinson Volquez (9-9).