Three-run fifth pushes Brewers past Rockies 5-2
DENVER — There’s nothing like a homer on the first pitch of a game to perk up a dugout.
Or pump up a pitcher.
Lorenzo Cain homered to start things off, Jhoulys Chacin kept his former team in check into the sixth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Thursday night.
Cain lined a fastball from German Marquez to deep center for his second career leadoff homer. The Milwaukee outfielder also accomplished feat on June 25, 2014, as a member of the Kansas City Royals.
“Something like that always surprises everybody,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “You feel like you’re settling in and you’re up 1-0. It’s a great way to start. It gives you a little energy, for sure. Put a lot of energy in our dugout right off the bat. It was cool.”
It was especially motivational for Chacin (3-1), who cruised along in the place where he kicked off his career as he allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings. A member of the Rockies from 2009-14, the right-hander still ranks eighth in Colorado history in wins (38) and seventh in strikeouts (514).
Even more, Chacin improved to 2-1 in four career starts against the Rockies.
“I faced my old friends, pitched here in Coors again — it’s always special for me,” Chacin said. “Happy to be able to pitch OK and give my team a chance to win the ball game.”
Up 5-2 in the sixth, Chacin walked Nolan Arenado with one out. He was replaced by lefty Boone Logan, another former Rockies pitcher who was making his Brewers debut after starting the season on the disabled list due to a strained triceps. Logan allowed a single to David Dahl before giving way to Matt Albers, who walked Trevor Story to load the bases.
Albers wiggled out of trouble when he got Gerardo Parra to ground into an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play.
“We needed a big hit with runners in scoring position,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It hasn’t come, but it will.”
Jeremy Jeffress struck out the side in the ninth for his third save in four chances.
Story sparked Colorado’s lackluster offense by homering on a slider from Chacin in the second. The Rockies left five runners on base a day after going 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
Marquez (2-4) struggled with his command in allowing five runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Once again, the opening frame wasn’t friendly to Marquez. Teams are hitting a combined .389 with three homers in the first over his eight starts. The Brewers went 2 for 4 to begin the game with two walks as Marquez threw 21 pitches.
“He didn’t feel comfortable the whole night,” Black said.
Marquez slipped several times on the mound during his delivery. The grounds crew went out and tamped it down.
“It was real slick,” Black said. “I wanted to make sure the mound was fine for him.”
Brewers: Counsell said RHP Jimmy Nelson continues to throw on flat ground as he works his way back from shoulder surgery in September.
FROM BOOS TO CHEERS
Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond was booed by fans Wednesday for striking out four times. He was cheered in the fifth after he tripled and then jogged home when Orlando Arcia threw the ball into the dugout.
Desmond fanned to end the game and his average is at .178.
“He’s been through these ups and downs,” Arenado said. “Ian is going to be just fine.”
Third baseman Travis Shaw collected a double and two singles. He entered the game in a 5-for-50 slump.
“I’m working through some stuff in my swing right now and today was a decent step,” said Shaw, whose team began a 10-game trip on the right note. “Still some work to do.”
Under the header “Tomorrow’s Starter” in the team notes, the Brewers put a simple message: “We just don’t know yet … sorry.” Counsell later revealed it would be right-hander Brandon Woodruff (1-0, 3.86 ERA) taking the mound Friday. The Rockies will go with right-hander Chad Bettis (4-1, 2.05).