Milwaukee Brewers: 250 Words or Less 7/16/11
Editor’s Note: This edition of ’250′ is more like 600 as too much happened in the game to condense down to a mere 250 words…..
The Milwaukee Brewers engaged in a game of “I’ve got it-you take it” Saturday night and the result was an ugly, but ultimately exciting 8-7 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Having already dropped the first two games of the series, Milwaukee was definitely in need of this Rockies Mountain high.
In an act of desperation akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke attempted to solve his team’s much documented road woes by juggling the batting order, dropping 2nd baseman Rickie Weeks down to the 5th slot behind Prince Fielder and inserting RF Corey Hart into the leadoff spot. On this night, at least, it worked with Hart getting the Brewers on the board with a 2-run homer in the 5th inning and Weeks capping the Brewers scoring with another 2-run blast in the 9th for what would prove to be the winning margin. But the rest of the game featured enough shaky defense and bullpen performances to make fans of either team uneasy.
It certainly didn’t look good early for Milwaukee as Rockies’ starter Jhoulys Chacin checked the Brewers on only 3 harmless singles through the first 4 innings. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ own Zach Grienke was once again victimized by his mates’ stellar defense. In the 3rd, Grienke allowed a 2-out triple to Colorado 3B Ian Stewart but got the next batter, Dexter Fowler, on a swinging 3rd strike only to have catcher Jonathan Lucroy fail to corral the pitch in the dirt. The speedy Fowler then beat Lucroy’s wild throw to first allowing Stewart to score. Catcher Chris Ianetta then laced a run-scoring double down the left field line. The ultimate insult followed when Chacin tapped a seeing-eye single between, or more accurately, under the gloves of both 3B Casey McGehee and SS Josh Wilson. Grienke finally ended the inning by striking out Carlos Gonzalez but by then he was dealing with an unnecessarily elevated pitch count.
It appeared those 3 unearned runs might actually hold up until the 5th when Chacin inexplicably pitched around Grienke with 2 outs, walking him on 4 pitches prior to Hart’s home run.
There was more concern for the Brewers in the 6th when LF Ryan Braun was replaced by Mark Kotsay after aggravating his recent hamstring/calf injury.
Chacin completely lost it in the 7th. Wilson led off the inning with a single and Lucroy followed with a bloop that just eluded RF Seth Smith. Craig Counsell came on to sacrifice for Grienke and Chacin then plunked Hart to load the bases for Nyjer Morgan, who caught the Rocks off guard with a drag bunt off reliever Matt Reynolds that scored both Wilson & Lucroy when 1B Todd Helton made a rare throwing error. Kotsay completed the 3 run rally with a sacrifice fly that gave Milwaukee a 5-3 lead.
Unfortunately, the Brewers gave it all back in the bottom of the inning when relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Kameron Loe teamed up to allow 3 Colorado runs. The Brewers tied it in the 8th when pinch runner Yuniesky Betancourt scored on PH George Kottaras’ fielder’s choice.
The 8th inning also marked the Brewers’ debut of newly acquired reliever Frankie “K-Rod” Rodriguez, who managed to get through a scoreless stanza despite an error by Fielder.
That set up the fireworks in the 9th when Colorado closer Huston Street walked Fielder with 2 outs before Weeks sent his drive out to center. It wasn’t over yet, though, as John Axford allowed a run in the bottom of the inning before finally closing out the game.
The Brewers will look to even the series this afternoon in what could end up being a key game on the trip.