Although he doesn't have the record to show it, Andrew Cashner has pitched like an ace throughout much of his first three starts for the San Diego Padres.
He'll have to overcome his struggles against the Colorado Rockies to build on a one-hit gem in his last outing Wednesday night when this four-game set continues at Petco Park.
Cashner (1-1, 1.29 ERA) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning for the Padres (6-8) on Friday before Detroit ended his bid with a one-out single. It was the only hit off the right-hander, who struck out 11 in a 6-0 home win.
On Sept. 16 at Pittsburgh, Cashner carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before allowing one hit while facing the minimum 27 batters in a 2-0 victory. With two one-hitters in a span of five starts, Cashner hopes to one day end the franchise's no-hit drought that has reached 46 seasons.
''I definitely want a no-hitter,'' he said. ''I don't think there's any reason why I can't build off this. When you get late in a game and your pitch count's high, you've really got to bear down and grind through."
Thanks in part to a San Diego offense that provided no runs of support, Cashner failed to pick up a victory in his first two outings despite giving up just three runs over 12 innings. However, a historic performance doesn't seem likely versus Colorado since he's 0-3 with a 7.16 ERA in nine career meetings - including four starts.
The Rockies (7-8) are averaging 7.5 runs and hitting .354 at Coors Field, but they've scored 3.6 per game with a .256 average while dropping six of nine on the road.
Wilin Rosario finished with three hits Tuesday, and Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu added two hits apiece as Colorado evened the series with a 3-2 win. Tulowitzki has gone 4 for 8 in the series, while LeMahieu is 5 for 12 in his last three.
Michael Cuddyer went 1 for 4 after bruising his elbow while trying to make a catch in Monday's opener.
The Rockies are hoping Jorge De La Rosa (0-2, 9.69) can get on track after surrendering 15 runs in his first three starts. The left-hander, who went 16-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 2013, has already allowed three homers after giving up 11 last season.
"He was one of the best pitchers in the National League last year," manager Walt Weiss said. "That's why I have confidence he can turn this around."
That could happen in this outing since De La Rosa is 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his last four starts at Petco Park. He hasn't lost to the Padres in any venue in almost four years.
Will Venable (1 for 7), Nick Hundley (2 for 13) and Everth Cabrera (3 for 18) have struggled against De La Rosa, but Jedd Gyorko has gone 6 for 7 with two doubles all-time in the matchup.
After going 7 for 43 in his first 12 games, Venable is 4 for 6 in the first two games of the series. Gyorko, however, has gotten off to a 8 for 50 (.160) start after hitting .249 with 23 homers as a rookie last season.
The Padres hope to have Cabrera back after he was held out Tuesday due to a sore right knee. The shortstop, batting a team-high .340, has hit safely in his last seven games.