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Wolf hit hard in series finale

Wolf hit hard in series finale

DENVER -- Prior to the Padres' game on Wednesday, San Diego manager Bud Black said he didn't envision going with only four bench players, which certainly sounds like a promise that a 13-man pitching staff will soon become a 12-man staff.

But Black might want to hang onto every live arm he has, especially after the current run of short starts the Padres have gotten from their rotation, the most recent coming on Wednesday, when Randy Wolf lasted four innings in an 8-1 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field.

The Padres -- who fell 20 games under .500 for the first time this season -- haven't had a single starting pitcher last more than six innings in the past 10 games. Over that stretch, San Diego's starting pitchers are 0-8 with a 7.24 ERA.

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"That's been uncharacteristic from what we've seen most of the year," Black said after the game. "We need some good starting pitching performances ... throw some pitches in the eighth, ninth innings."

Wolf, who lost his fourth consecutive start, put the first four Rockies on base, and by the time the third inning was over, he had allowed two home runs. The veteran lefty was gone after just four innings, again leaving the game in the hands of an overworked bullpen.

"I was horrible tonight," said Wolf, who had four walks, the third consecutive start where he's walked at least four. "I couldn't throw the ball where I wanted to ... I felt like the worst pitcher in baseball. I'm embarrassed with how I pitched tonight."

Gusts up to 44 mph were blowing on Wednesday at Coors Field, but mostly after Wolf left the game, having allowed a three-run home run to Garrett Atkins in the second inning, followed by a two-run home run to Troy Tulowitzki one inning later.

The three-run home run to Atkins was preceded by two walks and an RBI single by Matt Holliday.

From where he sat, Black said Wolf's "stuff looked good ... but he couldn't dial the ball into the strike zone. He didn't look comfortable out there."

This has been quite a difficult stretch for Wolf, who won his fifth game on June 11 while lowering his ERA to 3.83. Wolf, who has several Major League advance scouts watching him every start, now has a 4.59 ERA.

Where to now? Wolf said he will sit down with pitching coach Darren Balsley and watch video of this start to see if there's anything mechanically wrong.

"I know something was off," Wolf said. "It's frustrating, obviously. It's brutal to go out there and not have a clue."

Colorado pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8) allowed a solo home run to Chase Headley with two outs in the second inning, but little else, as the right-hander pitched into the seventh inning, allowing five hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

San Diego lost catcher Michael Barrett in the top of the third inning when a foul ball hit him in the nose. Barrett, who missed a month earlier this season with a strain of his right elbow, left the game and was taken to a local hospital with what the Padres were calling a fractured nose.

"I've seen guys foul balls off other parts of their body," Black said, "but not their face."

Black said Barrett will remain behind in Denver on Wednesday for a CT scan while the team flies to Phoenix to begin a three-game series with Arizona on Friday.

Black said that signs point to a disabled-list stint for Barrett and that Nick Hundley will likely be recalled from Triple-A Portland to take Barrett's spot. The only other catcher the Padres have is Luke Carlin, who replaced Barrett in the third inning.

Headley, who was hit on the right wrist by a Jimenez pitch in the seventh inning, sat in front of his locker after the game with his wrist wrapped in ice.

"This is nothing compared to anything that's happened to anyone on the team," Headley said, noting the Padres' frequent injuries this season that have sidelined several prominent players. "That's an ugly thing [Barrett's injury]. That got him pretty good."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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