- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Since enduring a rough stretch, rookie left-hander Tyler Matzek has been building on one success after another.

Matzek pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Nolan Arenado and Drew Stubbs homered, and the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 3-0 Friday night.

It was the third straight victory for Matzek (5-9) since snapping a five-game losing streak.

“We’re seeing a kid get better and better with just about every start,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “I’ve talked about his poise and maturity and he continues to show that. And he continues to show a very good slider. You saw left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters taking some funny swings at that thing.”

The Padres managed only one extra-base hit against Matzek - a leadoff double by Abraham Almonte in the ninth that went over the head of left fielder Corey Dickerson.

Matzek struck out six, including three in the third around Rymer Liriano’s single, the only other hit to reach the outfield. It was San Diego’s third straight loss.

“I feel like I was finding my groove in the last two or three games,” Matzek said. “Definitely feeling good. Just everything’s working: fastball location, slider, changeup, curveball. Everything feels right right now.”

Matzek was the first Rockies pitcher to go the distance this season. He improved to 5-0 with a 0.97 ERA in five starts in which he’s pitched at least seven innings.

“I think he’s getting better,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He’s probably learned along the way. He had a good live fastball. He has life in the hitting area. Good slider with a hard break late. We just couldn’t get to it.”

Matzek also caught a sharply hit liner that shot right back to him off the bat of Liriano in the eighth and had two sacrifice bunts, the first of which put D.J. LeMahieu in position to score on Charlie Blackmon’s fifth-inning single.

Eric Stults (6-16) went 6 1-3 innings in a solid outing, but again had a lack of run support. The Padres have been shut out an NL-high 17 times this season, including five times when Stults has been on the mound. It was the 15th time in his 28 starts that Stults has received one or no runs of support.

Stubbs gave Matzek a lead to work with in the first when he connected on a 2-2 pitch for his 14th home run of the season.

Arenado led off the sixth with his 16th home run and second in two games. He drove a 1-0 pitch from Stults into the left field seats.

NICE TOUCH: Rockies catcher Michael McKenry made a hustling, off-balance catch of Rene Rivera’s foul popup to end the third inning, running to the dugout and leaning over the railing to snare the ball, right in front of manager Walt Weiss. McKenry then flipped the ball to Rockies owner Dick Monfort, who was seated behind the dugout. Monfort gave the ball to a fan sitting nearby.


The 17 shutouts are the most for San Diego since being blanked 19 times in 2011


Padres: RHP Joaquin Benoit, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 26 because of soreness in his pitching shoulder, was expected to miss at least another seven to 10 days. However, manager Bud Black said he anticipates Benoit will pitch again before the end of the season. An MRI taken a week ago did not reveal any structural damage.

Rockies: RHP Jhoulys Chacin, on the DL since late June because of inflammation in his right shoulder, has resumed some throwing activities, but manager Walt Weiss said it’s unlikely he’ll return before the end of the season.


Padres: RHP Joe Wieland is set to start Saturday night’s game against the Rockies in his first big league outing in more than two years. Wieland missed most of the 2012 season, all of 2013 and most of this season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his pitching elbow in July 2012. He last pitched in the majors on May 6, 2012, against Miami at Petco Park.

Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa, signed to a two-year contract extension by the Rockies earlier this week, will look to continue his recent success against the Padres. De La Rosa has limited the Padres to three or fewer runs in each of his past four starts.

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