The Milwaukee Brewers scored in seven of the nine innings and had five players with three hits each as they outlasted the Colorado Rockies 13-10 Friday night at Coors Field. The Brewers set a season high with 13 runs and tied a season high with 19 hits.
The Brewers–fresh off taking three of four from Arizona–came into tonight’s contest with a record of 44-30, leading second-place St. Louis by 4 1/2 games in the National League Central. The Rockies sat at third in the N.L. West, nine games behind San Francisco with a record of 34-38. Their three-game losing streak included a no-hit loss to Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers on Wednesday.
Milwaukee was repped on the mound by Marco Estrada (5-4, 4.82 ERA), while Christian Bergman (0-1, 3.75) twirled for Colorado. Estrada started the season well, but struggled in his last six starts (2-3, 7.01). He also had the dubious distinction of giving up an N.L. worst 23 home runs.
Scooter Gennett led off the contest with a liner to left-center that rolled to the fence, allowing him to coast into second with a two-bagger. Ryan Braun then grounded to short, moving Scooter over to third with one out.
The Brewers got a lucky bounce with Carlos Gomez at the dish. The speedy center fielder hit a hard grounder through the box that hit the second base bag just before DJ LeMahieu was ready to grab it and bounced awry, allowing Lucroy to race to third and for Gomez to reach on an infield single.
Aramis Ramirez ripped a ball just inside the third base line past a diving Josh Rutledge, scoring both Lucroy and Gomez to give the Crew a 3-0 lead. Khris Davis and Lyle Overbay both grounded out to end the frame.
The Rockies came roaring back in the bottom of the first.
The inning began innocently with a strikeout by Charlie Blackmon, but then the wheels fell off.
Corey Dickerson singled to left and was moved to third on a double to right-center by Troy Tulowitzki.
But then an outfield misplay by the Brewers cost them two runs. Justin Morneau hit a looping liner to left-center that left fielder Davis and center fielder Gomez both chased after but neither one took control as the ball bounced off the glove of an uncertain Gomez. Morneau was credited with a double and two ribbies to cut the Brewers lead to 3-2.
Catcher Wilin Rosario hit a routine grounder toward Gennett, but first baseman Lyle Overbay cut the ball off and flipped it to a late-charging Estrada, who was unable to beat Rosario to first. Morneau advanced to third on the play.
Rosario then stole second before Brandon Barnes struck out and Rutledge bounced back to the mound.
Jean Segura led off the top of the second with a home run to left-center field, his third of the year, to make it 4-2 in favor of Milwaukee.
Estrada singled in the hole past Tulowitzki and moved to second on a 3-1 ground-out by Gennett. He was stranded at second after Braun struck out looking and Lucroy rolled out to second.
The Rockies threatened immediately to start the bottom of the second when DJ LeMahieu singled to right in front of Braun, who was playing near the warning track. LeMahieu stole second with Bergman at the plate, but the pitcher struck out on a foul bunt attempt for the first out.
Blackmon popped up in foul territory midway between home and third, and Ramirez took charge to make the second out and it looked like the Brewers might get out of the inning unscathed.
Not so fast.
Dickerson hit a slow roller to short that Segura tried to barehand but failed, and as the ball rolled a few feet behind him onto the infield dirt, LeMahieu hustled around third and beat Segura’s throw to make it 4-3.
Dickerson then stole second before Tulowitzki walked to put runners on first and second. The home run bugaboo continued to haunt Estrada as Morneau drove a ball deep to the stands in right field for the three-run jack and a 6-4 Colorado lead. Rosario grounded out to second for the third out.
The Brewers took the lead in the top of third compliments of a pair of round-trippers.
Gomez struck out the start the inning. Ramirez reached on an infield single, a hard shot off the glove of Bergman. After a few minutes of medical attention, Bergman was deemed ready to move on.
Maybe he shouldn’t have.
Davis hit a deep pop fly that carried just over the 390′ sign in left center to tie the game at six. Overbay grounded to second and then Segura hit his second dinger of the game to left-center to give the Brewers a 7-6 lead. Estrada struck out to end the inning.
Then the impossible happened: a 1-2-3 inning, as Estrada whiffed Barnes and got Rutledge and LeMahieu on ground outs to put the Rockies down in the bottom of the third.
Rightie Tommy Kahnle came out to start the fourth, with speculation that Bergman had been injured on the Ramirez line drive the inning before.
Gennett walked and was forced at second on a Braun grounder to short, with Braun reaching on the fielders choice. Lucroy walked as Kahnle showed some wildness.
Gomez grounded a ball past Tulowitzki to score Braun to make it 8-6, with Lucroy stopping at second. The RBI for Gomez was his 40th, which leads the team.
Ramirez fouled out to Morneau at first before Davis whiffed to end the inning.
Kahnle struck out and Blackmon popped to Segura to begin the bottom of the fourth before Dickerson blooped a single to center. Tulowitzki flied to Braun to end the threat.
The Brewers went quietly in the top of the fifth, the only baserunner being Estrada, who reached on a ten-pitch walk.
In the bottom of the fifth, Rosario stroked a one-out double to deep center over the head of Gomez, but Estrada struck out Barnes and Rutledge to put the Coors Field threat on ice.
6-foot-8 right-hander Chris Martin came in to begin the top of the sixth for Colorado. Braun led off with a hustle double to right before Lucroy grounded to short.
Three straight singles put the Brewers into double digits on the scoreboard.
Gomez beat out an infield tapper to short, moving Braun to third. Ramirez ripped a liner through the box to score Braun for his third hit and third RBI. Then Davis smacked a grounder past the second baseman to score Gomez and move Ramirez to third.
Overbay struck out for the second out before Segura singled to left to score Ramirez to make it 11-6. Estrada bounced to second for the final out.
Estrada got two quick outs in the bottom of the sixth before Blackmon doubled down the left field line to end the pitcher’s evening.
Southpaw Zach Duke came in to face Dickerson, only to see the Colorado batter smash a second-deck, two-run shot to cut the lead to 11-8.
Brandon Kintzler came in to face Tulowitzki and was rudely greeted by a single past Segura on the shift, but then got a clutch out when Morneau tapped back to the mound.
The Brewers got on the board again in the seventh. Gennett led off with a bunt single and scored when Braun ripped a ball to deep right-center. Lucroy and Gomez grounded out and then Ramirez flied to center to end the frame, with the Brewers leading 12-8.
Catcher Rosario beat out his second infield hit of the game when Segura failed to field a tough grounder cleanly in the bottom of the seventh. He scored one batter later when Barnes crushed a hanging breaking ball into the center field stands to cut the lead to 12-10. Kintzler then got three straight ground outs to mercifully end the inning.
The Brewers were retired in order in the eighth, a first for Colorado on this ‘softball scoring’ night.
The Rockies faced Brewer lefthander Will Smith in the bottom of the eighth, and the ‘should-be’ All-Star allowed a couple hits, but came through when he needed to.
Blackmon reached on an infield single that Ramirez couldn’t handle, but Smith whiffed Dickerson for the first out of the inning. Tulowitzki lined a single to left, moving Blackmon to second. Morneau then hit a grounder to short, where Segura made a nice grab and fired to second to force Tulowitzki for the second out. Smith finished the inning by striking out Rosario with a slider in the dirt.
Adam Ottavino came in for Colorado to pitch the ninth and struck out pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks to open the inning. Gennett ripped a ground-rule double to left and then scored on a single to left by Braun.
Braun stole second, but was stranded when Lucroy lined to left and Gomez struck out.
Major league save leader Francisco Rodriguez came in for the bottom of the ninth and did not disappoint, striking out Barnes and LeMahieu with a deep fly to right by Rutledge mixed in to earn his 24th save.
Estrada struggled early but got the win to improve to 6-4. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and seven earned runs, striking out seven and walking one. Bergman pitched three innings, giving up nine hits and seven runs while striking out three.
These two teams meet again tomorrow afternoon for game two of the three game set.