for this game

Morneau resumes pursuit of batting title vs. Padres

Sep 24, 2014 - 2:54 PM ( - And now, it's down to a batting title.

Both the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres are ensured to finish with losing records, so the intrigue remaining for the finale of their three-game series on Wednesday night at Petco Park is whether Colorado's Justin Morneau can maintain his slim lead in the race for the National League's batting crown.

Colorado ended an eight-game road skid and handed the Padres their 82nd loss of the season in Tuesday's second game, during which Morneau managed one hit to lower his average to .319 -- two points ahead of Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison.

Morneau is batting .408 in his last 13 games and .448 in nine games in San Diego.

The Padres have scored three runs in the initial two games of the series and just missed another when Rene Rivera's bid for an eighth-inning homer on Tuesday was snatched by the glove of Colorado outfielder Brandon Barnes.

"That's baseball," Rivera said. "I hit it well. I saw it off the bat, it went up and I had good, hard contact. But in Petco sometimes you still have to run hard. He made a great catch."

The Rockies close the series with Yohan Flande, who makes his 10th start in the big leagues while still pursuing his first victory.

He sandwiched five relief outings in between starts eight and nine, and has a 5.51 earned run average in the nine game-opening assignments while allowing foes to compile a .271 batting average.

He threw 59 pitches on Thursday against Arizona in a game the Rockies won, 7-6.

Flande allowed two runs in four innings of a 4-1 loss in San Diego last month.

The Padres counter with Joe Wieland, who pitched 2 1/3 innings in his lone start of the season -- against Colorado -- on Sept. 6. He did not pitch at all in 2013 after undergoing ligament replacement surgery in his elbow.

Since that start, he's pitched twice in relief and is allowing an overall batting average of .433.

On Tuesday, Drew Stubbs' home run in the eighth inning lifted the Rockies to a 3-2 win over San Diego.

Stubbs greeted Dale Thayer (4-4) with a homer to right on the first pitch of the eighth to give the Rockies the lead. Colorado then made two great defensive plays to keep it a one-run game in the home eighth.

Rivera led off the inning by lifting a deep fly to left, where Barnes leapt up at the wall to snare the ball. San Diego proceeded to put a pair of runners on with two outs before DJ LeMahieu made a diving stop to his left to get Alexi Amarista for the final out of the frame.

LaTroy Hawkins came on in the ninth and worked around a leadoff walk to record his 23rd save of the season.