Monday, April 6, 2015

Middle of order brings out heavy lumber for Rockies

 The buzz going into Monday's opener was that Rockies manager Walt Weiss put Carlos Gonzalez in the second spot in the batting order. But, really, Weiss had the chance to write Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki onto his lineup card, so how could he go wrong?
In the top of the first, CarGo, Tulo and rising star Nolan Arenado all had doubles, and Corey Dickerson -- dropped from his expected second spot to sixth -- homered for two of the Rockies' four runs. Arenado added a two-run, third-inning homer, and it took four innings for the Rockies to plate all of their runs in a 10-0 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park.
"It's a good lineup, regardless of what order you put those guys in," Weiss said. "They put together tough at-bats and make the other pitcher work."
Last August, Gonzalez underwent left knee surgery and Tulowitzki had left hip surgery. Both were done for the remainder of a 66-96 season. So Monday was more than an opener.
"I took that first at-bat like it was a World Series at-bat: I was really pumped up, like, 'This is it,'" Gonzalez said. "I was waiting for this moment. I was ready to hit that bullet and get us going."
The Rockies scored in double figures on Opening Day on the road for the first time in their 23-year history. Tulowitzki and Arenado had three hits apiece, and Arenado and Dickerson each tied his career highs with four RBIs.
The Rockies' 16 hits were their second most in an opener -- they had 18 twice against the Padres, at San Diego in 1999 and at home in 2005. Starting pitcherKyle Kendrick went 2-for-3 for his fifth career multihit game. Defending National League batting champ Justin Morneau (0-for-5) was the only hitless starter.
Brewers starter Kyle Lohse worked hard (73 pitches), but not for long (3 1/3 innings) and gave up a career-high-tying eight earned runs on 10 hits. Thirty-two pitches, including six to leadoff man Charlie Blackmon and eight to Tulowitzki, came in the first inning. Dickerson caught the 27th pitch with the end of his bat but swung strongly enough to put the ball into the right-field seats.
"All those good at-bats calmed everybody down and everybody seemed pretty zoned in," said Dickerson, who led the Rockies with 24 homers last season. "Those good at-bats helped me my at-bat."

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