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Estes can't stop righty-filled Rox lineup

Estes can't stop righty-filled lineup

DENVER -- The days are running short, not just for the Padres, who after Tuesday's 10-3 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field, have 10 games remaining in the regular season, but for a handful of players still hoping to leave a good impression

Those players aren't just restricted to the host of fresh faces the team has brought in from Triple-A Portland or Double-A San Antonio, but 35-year-old pitcher Shawn Estes and knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, plucked off waivers last week.

Neither fared well on Tuesday, as Estes allowed six runs on 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings, while Haeger walked three, hit a batter and allowed a mammoth grand slam to Chris Iannetta to break open a four-run game.

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But that's about where the similarities between Estes' and and Haeger's nights end, as the left-handed Estes (2-3) gave a tip of the hat to the Rockies (69-83), whom he felt got hits off pitches he actually liked.

"I went back and looked at some pitches, and maybe I didn't throw enough breaking balls or pitch inside enough," said Estes, who was facing a lineup filled with seven righty hitters. "But they took the ball the other way and they had a good approach."

Ten of the 13 hits Estes allowed were singles. The biggest damage didn't come until the fourth inning when leadoff hitter Clint Barmes went down -- far down, in the mind of Estes and manager Bud Black -- to get a changeup for a two-run double.

"It would have been in the dirt if he didn't hit it," Estes said. "[Catcher] Luke [Carlin] had his glove on the ground."

Estes would later allow a three-run home run to Jeff Baker in the fifth inning. Estes would later bemoan the absence of his curveball, a pitch that he said has not been an ally since the beginning of the season, a pitch that has been good to him over the years.

Haeger certainly knows what it's like to be betrayed by a pitch he counts as an ally. His knuckleball hasn't done its thing since the right-hander was picked up off waivers from the White Sox last week.

And while Haeger went 13 days between his last start and his first appearance with the Padres on Saturday -- he said that he was looking forward to the golf season when the Padres called -- he didn't make excuses for his outing Tuesday.

Called upon to finish the fifth inning, Haeger walked the first three hitters he faced in the sixth inning, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Spilborghs and Garret Atkins. His pitches were not moving like he preferred, as Chris Iannetta discovered when he drove a 70-mph pitch out over the plate over the wall in left field for a 10-2 lead.

"I'm not going to make excuses ... regardless of the days off. I've got to be able to throw strikes," Haeger said. "To walk three guys in a row, give up a grand slam and hit a guy ... I've got to figure it out to impress [the Padres]."

While Padres pitchers were struggling on Tuesday, Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez (11-12) recovered nicely from a slow start, when he allowed a two-run home run to Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning.

For Gonzalez, it was his 34th home run of the season to give him 111 RBIs, both of which are career highs.

But Jimenez settled down and didn't allow another run over the next six innings and just two more hits while striking out nine.

"He's capable of games like tonight," Black said. "When you combine the velocity and the assortment of offspeed pitches, he can be devastating. He's got as good of stuff as anyone in the league."

The Padres would score a third run but not until the ninth inning on rookie Drew Macias' sacrifice fly after Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chase Headley singled earlier in the inning.

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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