PEORIA, Ariz. -- A year ago, in his first spring with the Padres, pitcher Tyson Ross struggled at times with getting his pitches in the strike zone.
That certainly wasn't the case Monday -- for better or worse.
Ross allowed six earned runs on 12 hits over 4 1/3 innings -- but had six strikeouts and no walks -- as the Rockies topped the Padres, 9-7, at the Peoria Sports Complex.
"I was definitely in the strike zone today, which has always been a battle for me," Ross said.
Ross yielded five doubles in the Rockies' five-run fourth inning, as the glaring sun and blustery conditions turned pitches out over the plate into adventures for outfielders.
But Ross, who saw his Cactus League ERA jump from 3.24 to 6.39, wasn't about to make excuses for his performance.
"I just left some balls up," he said. "I got to two strikes on a lot of guys and couldn't finish them. That is going to be an emphasis moving forward ... when I get two strikes, bury them."
Ross threw some good sliders -- which is his plus-pitch -- including one to strike out Troy Tulowitzki to end the third inning. He also threw some changeups, including several to left-handed hitters.
"The feel is starting to come, the confidence is starting to come," Ross said of his confidence with throwing the changeup.