Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rockies bring boom, brooms to Milwaukee

Wilin Rosario launched a pinch-hit solo shot off Francisco Rodriguez in the 10th inning Wednesday to give the Rockies a 5-4 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park. Rosario's shot gave the Rockies a sweep of the season-opening series and just the fourth three-game win streak to start a season in their 23 years.
Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez launched a 466-foot homer off Jonathan Broxton for a a 4-2 lead in the eighth. However, the Brewers tied it with two runs in the ninth on four hits -- three singles through the infield and a Ryan Braun squibber that barely made it to Nolan Arenado at third. Braun's hit drove in one run, as did Carlos Gomez's single through the right side. The hits all came off Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins (1-0). Onetime Brewers closerJohn Axford earned his first Rockies save.
"It's great getting off to a start like this, particularly on the road, where we had some tough history -- especially last year," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, whose club went 21-60 on the road last year. "But this is a different year. It's a different team. It's a nice way to start."
The contest featured gritty starting pitching. The Brewers' Wily Peralta held the Rockies to seven hits -- one of them Corey Dickerson's second homer of the series, a solo shot in the seventh. Rockies standout prospect Eddie Butler, whose late spring was abbreviated because of right shoulder fatigue, gave up two runs -- on Adam Lind's homer to center in the third inning -- and four hits in 5 2/3 frames.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Reversing the roll: Butler had fanned three straight batters, including Peralta and Gomez to open the third, when Jonathan Lucroy held off on a 96-mph fastball to walk and set up Lind, who had hit balls hard the last two games. Lind powered Butler's 88-mph changeup over the center-field wall for his first long ball with his new club and the Brewers' first 2015 lead.
Getting it done, finally: The Rockies hit big in the first two games, but execution is necessary on the road. The Rockies fell short in the second, when Dickerson was thrown out by yards on what appeared to be a hit-and-run call with Nick Hundley batting. In the fifth, Hundley was at first and Arenado at third when Hundley attempted to lure a rundown, but Arenado never felt safe running. Hundley ran into the second out. However, DJ LeMahieu singled off Peralta for the Rockies' first run.
Slam the wall, save a run: The Brewers had a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth when left fielder Khris Davis accepted some pain to keep the game that way. Davis leaped right into the wall to snare Gonzalez's hard liner with one out in the inning. The play drew a boisterous ovation. Fans had more to cheer about as the inning played out -- Troy Tulowitzki followed with a double to left that would have scored Gonzalez, then Peralta worked Justin Morneau into a line-out to center.
Dickerson can hit in the clutch: The Rockies didn't have to execute for their second run. After Rockies reliever Christian Friedrich replaced Butler with two outs and a man at third, then ended the bottom of the sixth on a Gerardo Parra groundout, Dickerson homered for the second time this series to tie it at 2.
QUOTABLE
"Hundley high-fived me and said, 'This is for Jameson.'" -- the Rockies' Axford, who will spend the team's day off Thursday in Arizona with his 2 1/2-year-old son, Jameson, who is recovering from multiple surgeries since being bitten twice on the right foot by a rattlesnake at the family's rental home during Spring Training.
"It's tough, but it's only the first series. We've got to bounce back on Friday." -- Rodriguez, after giving up Rosario's winning homer.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Remember the March 23 Brewers-Rockies Spring Training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz.? Didn't think so. That was Peralta's day to pitch, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke went with reliever Tyler Thornburg and kept Peralta behind for a Minor League game. Well, not having seen Peralta until Wednesday night, the Rockies gained no traction against him until the fifth inning.
WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: Colorado has already won a road series -- they clinched that Tuesday. Now the real fun begins. After a day off Thursday, the Rockies will play host to the Cubs in a sold-out home opener on Friday at 2:10 p.m. MT.
Brewers: Right-hander Mike Fiers will open a three-game series against the Pirates on Friday at Miller Park. Fiers had a 4.73 ERA in four spring training starts, but went 6-5 with a 2.13 ERA in 14 games, 10 starts, last year.

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