Will Middlebrooks and Yangervis Solarte gave no ground in their tight competition for San Diego’s starting third base job, each driving a run in the Padres’ 10-3 victory over a Colorado Rockies split squad Wednesday.

Middlebrooks had an RBI single in the sixth and went 1 for 3. He’s hitting .357.

Solarte, who started at first, had an RBI single in the third off Rockies starter Tyler Matzek. He went 1 for 4 and is at .344.

Middlebrooks was acquired in an offseason deal with Boston after an injury-filled 2014. The Padres got Solarte last summer when they traded third baseman Chase Headley to the Yankees.

“They’re playing with enthusiasm. They’re competing hard,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “We have a little bit of a track record with Solarte based on half a season last year. And Will is coming into camp trying to make the most of an opportunity. He’s doing his thing.”

Padres non-roster invite Cody Decker, best known for his elaborate minor league pranks that he turns into YouTube films, hit a grand slam off Scott Oberg in the eighth. It was his second homer of the spring.

Carlos Quentin doubled twice for the Padres. Drew Stubbs had a solo homer and RBI single off Padres starter Tyson Ross.


Padres: Ross used a nasty slider to strike out five in two innings, four of them on balls in the dirt. But the right-hander lost control of his out pitch in the third.

Ross had three wild pitches and threw away a pickoff attempt as the Rockies scored twice. He gave up three runs and three hits while getting 11 outs. He worked in some changeups, a new pitch.

“It’s a pitch that I know is going to be big for me this year,” Ross said, “getting guys off the fastball-slider combo.”

Rockies: Matzek allowed two runs and three hits before leaving with one out in the fourth. The left-hander struck out three, hit two batters and issued a walk.

Matzek’s ERA climbed to 6.75, but he’s still set to break camp in the rotation for the first time.

“They thought I was going to be a reliever last year, they sent me down and a couple months later I’m in the big leagues as a starter,” Matzek said. “It’s way different this year.”


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