A long road trip could be the spark that ultimately gets the San Diego Padres out of last place in the NL West.
San Diego begins a nine-game road swing Monday night against the Colorado Rockies, who are in the middle of the pack in the West and struggling against divisional foes.Though the Padres (29-38) are at the bottom of the West, they're also the only last-place club in the major leagues with a winning road record at 15-12. San Diego is hitting .261 and averaging 4.6 runs per game away from cavernous Petco Park, but just .208 with 2.5 runs per game en route to a 14-26 home record.The Padres completed a 5-6 homestand with a 2-0 loss to Washington on Sunday. San Diego took the opener of the four-game set, but plated just two runs in the last 28 innings of the series. The Padres have been blanked a major league-worst 11 times this year -- eight at home."Any time you finish up a series with these one-run games and don't come out on it, you're disappointed," starting pitcher Tim Stauffer said. "We won the first game of the series but weren't able to build on it."Highly-touted first baseman Anthony Rizzo will play his first road series after going 3 for 10 with a solo homer and two runs scored in four games against the Nationals. Acquired from Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, Rizzo and the Padres will meet the Red Sox starting June 20 for three games at Fenway Park.With starters Aaron Harang (foot) apparently headed for the disabled list and Dustin Moseley (shoulder) expected to miss one start, the Padres will call up 23-year-old Anthony Bass to make his major league debut.The right-hander was 7-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 12 starts with Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. In his most recent start June 5, Bass allowed one hit with six strikeouts over five scoreless innings of San Antonio's 4-3 win over Springfield (Mo.).Bass will try to help San Diego win for the sixth time in eight games at Coors Field.Colorado's Aaron Cook (0-0, 4.76 ERA) will face the Padres again after making his season debut against them on Wednesday.The sinkerballer, who broke his right index finger in spring training, gave up three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings of the Rockies' 5-3 victory, walking four and striking out four."I felt pretty good," he said. "Of course, I walked four guys, which cost me later in the game by not being able to finish the sixth inning."Cook has beaten the Padres 14 times -- his highest total against any opponent. Colorado's franchise leader with 69 wins, Cook is 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA in his last six home starts versus San Diego.Continuing a 10-game homestand, the Rockies (31-34) settled for a split of their four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers after losing 10-8 on Sunday. Seth Smith hit a three-run homer in the first inning, but Colorado gave up nine straight runs before falling short with a late charge.Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton also went deep in the loss, which dropped the third-place Rockies to 15-20 within the division.Gonzalez appears to finally be snapping out of a season-long slump. Gonzalez had multiple hits in all four games against the Dodgers, going 12 for 19 with a homer, three RBIs and six runs. He's also scored six runs against San Diego this year, but has gone 5 for 23.Colorado and San Diego have split six meetings this season, with each team scoring 29 runs.