Rockies 4, Brewers 3
Michael Cuddyer prefers to play every day, so sitting in the
dugout isn’t his ideal way to spend the night at the ballpark.
But with a bruised big toe still bothering him to the point
where it would hinder his defense, Cuddyer was limited to
pinch-hitting duties. In the ninth inning Friday night, he came
through in that role.
Cuddyer drove in the go-ahead run in the Colorado Rockies’ 4-3
victory over the Milwaukee Brewers despite an inside-the-park homer
for Norichika Aoki.
Even on what was supposed to be a night off, Cuddyer impressed
his new team.
”It’s nice to get off to a good start, no matter where you are,
who you’re with, what team you’re with,” Cuddyer said. ”But
especially going to a new team, it’s good to get off to a good
start. At the same time, we’ve got a long, long, long way to
Cuddyer’s tiebreaking RBI single came off Brewers closer John
”He is a professional,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said of
Cuddyer. ”I mean, if you look the word up in the dictionary, I
promise you, his picture will be right next to the word.”
Aoki hit the home run for Milwaukee in the fourth, the first
major league homer for the former Japanese baseball batting
champion. Aoki added a double and scored a run in the sixth.
”I wasn’t expecting to get a home run there so I was just
running as hard as I could,” Aoki said, through an interpreter.
”I am just very happy with the results.”
Todd Helton hit his second home run of the season and Troy
Tulowitzki had a single and an RBI double for the Rockies.
Ryan Braun went 0 for 3 but did reach base when he was hit by a
pitch. Braun is 0 for 14 in the first four games of the Brewers’
Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth for his fourth save, leaving
a runner on third base.
Matt Belisle (1-0) earned the win.
Pinch-hitter Jason Giambi hit a bloop single off Axford (0-1) to
start the ninth, and was replaced by pinch-runner Eric Young – who
took second when Axford unleashed a wild throw to first on a
pickoff attempt. Young advanced to third on a flyout, and Cuddyer
came in as a pinch hitter. Cuddyer singled up the middle, giving
the Rockies a 4-3 lead.
Cuddyer said it takes a different mindset for a player to come
in as a late-game pinch hitter.
”I’m not a big fan of it, but it is what it is,” Cuddyer said.
”Physically, it was tough to get out in the outfield and run
Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin went seven innings, giving up
three runs and four hits with a walk and six strikeouts. He also
had an RBI single in the fourth.
”Just luck,” Chacin said with a laugh.
Chacin now has put together two good outings in a row after
struggling in his first start and making a mechanical adjustment.
He retired his first 10 batters before Aoki hit a sharp liner in
the fourth and the ball scooted past the outstretched glove of
diving left fielder Carlos Gonzalez.
”It was almost the catch of the night, too, and we’ve seen
Gonzalez make some plays like that,” Tracy said.
The ball went to the wall, where there was a brief moment of
indecision between Gonzalez and center fielder Dexter Fowler about
who should pick it up. Aoki continued to cruise around the
basepaths and was able to score standing up.
The Brewers signed Aoki in the offseason after being awarded
negotiating rights with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. He is a
three-time Central League batting champion.
Brewers starter Shaun Marcum went six innings, giving up three
runs and eight hits.
The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the first when Gonzalez singled,
stole a base and scored on a double by Tulowitzki.
Marcum then loaded the bases in the fourth, intentionally
walking Chris Nelson with two outs to bring up the pitcher.
Chacin delivered an RBI single, scoring Tulowitzki, but Braun
threw out Ramon Hernandez at the plate.
Hernandez may have felt catcher Jonathan Lucroy missed his
shoulder with the tag as he slid and argued vehemently with home
plate umpire Larry Vanover.
After Aoki’s homer cut the Rockies’ lead to 2-1, Helton belted a
homer deep to right-center field in the sixth for a 3-1 lead. The
Rockies then put runners on second and third with one out, but
Nelson hit a grounder and third baseman Aramis Ramirez threw home
for the out – the Brewers’ second putout at the plate.
Milwaukee came back to tie the game in the sixth on an RBI
single by Corey Hart that scored Aoki and an RBI single by Mat
Gamel that scored Braun, who had been hit by a pitch.
NOTES: Milwaukee placed LHP Chris Narveson on the 15-day
disabled list with a tear in his rotator cuff. The injury still is
being evaluated but may require surgery. … Tulowitzki is batting
.398 with 12 doubles, 7 home runs and 22 RBIs in his career against
the Brewers. … Rockies reliever Josh Roenicke briefly chatted
with his uncle, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, before Friday’s