DENVER (AP) — Jon Garland threw six sharp innings in his first appearance in almost two years and Michael Cuddyer drove in four runs, helping the Colorado Rockies to a 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
Garland (1-0) hardly showed any signs of rust in his first big league start since June 1, 2011. He had season-ending shoulder surgery a month later. The procedure also kept him sidelined for 2012. He gave up two runs and struck out two.
Cuddyer finished the night 3 for 4, including a two-run homer in the seventh that sealed the Rockies fourth straight win. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki each added RBI singles.
Tyson Ross (0-1) lasted four innings and allowed three runs — two earned — in his Padres debut after being acquired in the offseason from Oakland. He struggled with his control as he walked four.
Carlos Quentin had two doubles and scored twice for the Padres, who are 1-4 to start the season.
Garland attempted a comeback with Seattle as a non-roster invitee this spring before being released. The Rockies acquired Garland off waivers from the Mariners on March 24.
The righty was efficient and effective all night, mixing in a change with an 88 mph fastball before being lifted for a pinch hitter after throwing 75 pitches.
Relievers Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers bridged the gap to closer Rafael Betancourt, who pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.
Colorado broke open a close game in the fifth when Gonzalez, Tulowitzki and Cuddyer strung together three straight RBI singles.
Garland was cruising along until the fourth. He allowed a double to Quentin, a single to Yonder Alonso and then walked Jedd Gyorko to load the bases with no outs.
Alexi Amarista, who turned 24 on Saturday, tied the game at 1 with a fielder’s choice — just narrowly avoiding a double play by a step. But Garland ended the threat by getting Cameron Maybin to roll into a 4-6-3 double play.
Cuddyer gave Colorado an early 1-0 lead in the first when he drove home Josh Rutledge with a single to right.
The Rockies made a move earlier in the day as they traded former All-Star catcher Ramon Hernandez and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Aaron Harang.
Then, the team promptly designated Harang for assignment.
Colorado feels that confident about its rotation, even though many pundits consider the staff a big question mark this season, especially with Jhoulys Chacin (shoulder), Jorge De La Rosa (elbow) and Juan Nicasio (knee) all coming off injury-plagued seasons.
“We just feel as a fit right now, it probably isn’t the best fit,” Rockies assistant general manager Bill Geivett said of bringing on board Harang. “With Aaron, we’ve always respected him and what he could do in the past. But we really have committed to five starters and we know he wants to start.”
NOTES: Padres MGR Bud Black said the team has been working on RHP Edinson Volquez’s mechanics after he went just three innings and gave up six runs in an opening day loss in New York. Volquez will take the mound Sunday against RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-0) and the Rockies. “His head was coming off the target too early,” Black said of Volquez. … The Rockies will play Sunday home games an hour later (2:10 p.m.) this season, just to give the players more rest. “Players knowing they’re going to get another hour of sleep? It felt like it would be beneficial,” Geivett said. … The Rockies have 11 homers through five games.
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