Rockies 9, Brewers 8(10)

Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is nearly ready for

the bright lights of the regular season. So, too, is Colorado

Rockies veteran first baseman Todd Helton.

Both had key hits early in the Rockies’ 9-8 victory in 10

innings on Thursday.

And Brewers left-hander Chris Narveson is elated to be the

starter for the Brewers in their home opener at Miller Park on

April 4 after they open the season with three games in

Cincinnati.

Braun hit a three-run home run in the third inning, his second

of the spring, to erase Colorado’s early 1-0 deficit. Helton had a

pair of doubles, the second driving in two runs in the fifth to tie

the game at 3.

”I’m starting to find my timing and rhythm,” said Braun, who

is hitting .312 this spring after hitting .304 with 25 homers and

103 RBIs in 2010.

”It seems like a long time, but we’re getting closer to the

season,” he added. ”Another week and I should be ready.”

Braun said first-year manager Ron Roenicke has been had good

communication with the players and is flexible with their

schedules.

”The communication has been incredible,” Braun said. ”He has

been very open with all of us guys who have been around three,

four, five years. We know what we need to do to get ready.”

Roenicke named the other three members of the rotation. He was

forced to tweak it when it was discovered that right-hander Zack

Greinke suffered a hairline fracture of the eighth rib on his left

side while playing pickup basketball. It is uncertain when Greinke,

the AL Cy Young Award winner with Kansas City in 2009, will be

ready to pitch.

Right-hander Yovani Gallardo will have his second straight

Opening Day start, followed by another newcomer, right-hander Shaun

Marcum, and veteran left-hander Randy Wolf.

Narveson, who was 12-9 in 37 games (28 starts) in his first full

major-league season last year, said being the starter for the

team’s home opener is important.

”It is a nice honor. There will be a packed house. I like that.

I’d like to get off to a good start,” Narveson said. ”There will

be a lot of things going on. It will be a day game and you won’t

get nervous thinking about it all day.”

He said his pitches have been improving daily, especially his

change-up.

”The location of everything is getting better,” he said. ”You

look for the feel of that (consistent) release point (of the

pitch). Once you get to it, you know it.”

Mike Jacobs gave the Rockies a 6-5 lead with a run-scoring

single in the top of the ninth.

The Brewers began the ninth with four straight singles to tie

it, but could get no more as the Rockies got one out on a fielder’s

choice to the plate and an inning-ending double play.

Colorado scored three runs in the 10th on a pair of sacrifice

flies and a base hit, and the Brewers scored twice in the 10th on a

single by Chris Dickerson and a double by George Kottaras.

Notes: Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks hit a two-out single in the third

and then was removed from the game as a precautionary measure with

tightness in his groin. He is day-to-day. … Rockies CF Willy

Taveras had three hits and stole three bases. He is hitting .348

this spring.