SAN DIEGO (AP) — Pitcher Juan Nicasio dug down and gave the Colorado Rockies exactly what they needed.
After a rough first inning, Nicasio settled in and threw six solid innings to help save a depleted bullpen as the Rockies got a rare road win with a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
With set-up reliever Rex Brothers sitting for a couple of days after two consecutive rough outings, and the rest of the bullpen having been used often recently, Colorado hoped Nicasio could pitch deep on Tuesday night.
The right-hander couldn't have started much worse by allowing two runs in the first inning when the first four Padres each got a hit. Although Nicasio got out of the inning with no more damage, his pitch count was already to 31 pitches.
"I look at the (pitching) board and saw 31 pitches and I know to stay in the game I have to have 10 pitches an inning," Nicasio said.
"The fact that he got through six was huge," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss. "We needed Juan to get through that sixth; that was critical. I was a little concerned at that point, but he settled in."
Nicasio (2-0) more than settled in against the light-hitting Padres as he allowed just two hits over his last five innings. Four relievers protected the 3-2 lead, allowing just two hits over the final three innings.
"He had it rough there early but he settled down and we picked him up on the back side," said Boone Logan, who came on in the seventh and walked a batter to load the bases with two outs before he got Alexi Amarista on a ground out.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth inning for his second save.
Colorado won for just the third time in nine road games this season.
Nicasio ran his career mark to 3-0 in six starts against San Diego with a 2.89 ERA.
The Rockies scratched together a single run in three separate innings, including the go-ahead run in the fifth off Robbie Erlin (1-1).
"The second time through the lineup, I just felt myself trying to do too much, overthrowing," Erlin said. "That's when I lose command of the ball. My game is definitely command and I got hurt with it."
San Diego, the NL's lowest scoring team, had few scoring chances after the first and was held to two runs or less for the eighth time in 14 games.
"We put some great at-bats together," San Diego's Jedd Gyorko said. "But there in the middle of the game, he definitely got comfortable and kind of settled in and was hitting his spots a little bit better."
In the Colorado fifth, Michael Cuddyer singled and Carlos Gonzalez walked with two outs. Tim Stauffer replaced Erlin and loaded the bases with a walk to Troy Tulowitzki.
Edwin Rosario then hit a ground ball that tipped off the glove off Stauffer's glove for an infield single and a 3-2 lead.
San Diego scored twice in the first on four consecutive hits to start the inning. Will Venable led off with a double and went to third on Amarista's single. Seth Smith and Jedd Gyorko followed with RBI singles.
The Rockies cut the lead to 2-1 on DJ LeMahieu's run-scoring single in the second and tied the game on sacrifice fly by Nolan Arenado in the fourth.
Erlin gave up three runs on six hits in 4 2-3 innings. The left-hander was coming off a six-inning, one-hit effort in his last start, a 2-1 win at Cleveland on Wednesday.
Notes: Cuddyer, who suffered a bruised right elbow Monday night when he fell backwards against the outfield wall while attempting to make a catch, was back in the lineup at first base. ... Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera (sore knee) was held out of the starting lineup. ... When San Diego scored two runs without a hit in the eighth inning Monday night for a 5-4 win over the Rockies, it was the first time the Padres scored the game-tying and eventual game-winning run in the same inning without a hit since May 2004. . Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa (0-2, 9.69 ERA) faces off against Padres RHP Andrew Cashner (1-1, 1.29) on Wednesday night.