- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

DENVER (AP) - The hat that Chad Bettis wore after the game was certainly fitting - a picture of a menacing bear.

He was bearing down all night; had to in order to escape all the trouble he was in.

Bettis dodged jam after jam over five solid innings, Dustin Garneau hit a two-run double and the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 7-4 on Friday.

“A few of those innings were pretty stressful for him,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “But he did a very good job.”

For that, Bettis (8-5) thanks his catcher. Garneau and Bettis have been on the same page dating to their days in the minors. Garneau estimates he’s caught Bettis around 50 times.

But only a few times on this level, since Garneau was recently called up.

“There’s just a trust factor,” said Garneau, who spent seven seasons in the minors before being promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 19. “It’s a working relationship that takes time to develop. Luckily, I’ve had the time with him to develop it.”

Bettis stranded six runners while allowing just one run. He struck out six and threw 94 pitches in his fifth start since returning from elbow inflammation that sidelined him for a month.

“As game goes on, I get a little bit more dialed in,” Bettis said.

Jose Reyes added a late two-run single as the Rockies returned to Coors Field for a 10-game homestand - their final one of the season.

Ian Kennedy (8-15) had an uncharacteristically so-so performance at the hitter friendly park, allowing four runs - three earned - in six innings. He entered the game with a 3.02 ERA at Coors - the top figure of anyone who’s thrown at least 50 innings in the Mile High City.

“I probably felt like the fourth inning I got to where my fastball had a nice arm slot,” Kennedy said. “But the first couple of innings I was trying to find it.”

John Axford got Justin Upton to fly out to end the game as he picked up his 24th save in 29 chances.

Wil Myers had a solo homer, while Melvin Upton Jr. contributed two doubles and a single for San Diego.

Nolan Arenado had three hits, including an RBI single in the seventh, scored twice and turned in another fielding gem, picking up a bunt on the run with his bare hand to easily throw out Kennedy.

Although Arenado plays on a losing team, Weiss firmly believes his slick-fielding third baseman deserves some consideration for NL MVP. Arenado is hitting .286 with 39 homers and 112 RBIs.

Above that, Weiss said Arenado, “changes the game with his defense, virtually every night. That doesn’t seem to carry any weight in MVP voting - don’t know why.”

Arenado has another supporter, too.

“I’d probably vote for him,” San Diego interim manager Pat Murphy said.


Justin Morneau legged out another triple, the second in as many games he’s played. But Weiss said Morneau’s newly discovered speed still doesn’t make him a candidate for the leadoff spot.


Padres: RHP Shawn Kelly (forearm) threw 20 pitches in a simulated game Friday. He will throw a bullpen session sometime this weekend and start next Friday against Arizona.

Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood (elbow) threw 42 pitches over three innings during a start for Single-A Asheville on Thursday. He allowed two runs - one earned - as the Tourists were swept by Hickory in the best-of-5 South Atlantic League championship series.


Padres: LHP Robbie Erlin will make his season debut Saturday. It’s also the season debut of a lefty starter for San Diego. Seems like a good time, considering the Rockies are 8-28 against lefties this season.

Rockies: LHP Yohan Flande (3-3, 4.95) is making his 10th start this season.

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