Juan Nicasio (1-0, 3.00) held the Milwaukee Brewers to 2 runs over 6 innings and three bench players combined to deliver the winning run in the 5th as the Colorado Rockies defeated the Brewers 7-3 and took their 2013 opening series on the road. Colorado enjoyed a bit of garbage time in the 9th, strafing the Brewers for 3 insurance runs before Rafael Betancourt came on to close the contest-out in a non-save situation.
For an inning it appeared Nicasio and Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta (0-1, 6.75) were in a contest to determine who could reach 100 pitches fastest. Eric Young Jr led-off for the Rockies and worked Peralta for 10 of the 19 pitches he threw for a walk. Young was caught stealing as Colorado failed to score. It took Nicasio 30 offerings to work through the Brewers in the first. Rickie Weeks singled and Ryan Braun walked, working Nicasio for 10 pitches of his own. But Milwaukee failed to score as well.
Wilin Rosario got the Rockies started with a long home run to left-field, driving-in Troy Tulowitzski, who had walked. The Brewers answered in the 3rd. After Nicasio retired Peralta and Norichika Aoki to open the frame, 2nd-baseman Weeks drilled a shot off the left-field 2nd-deck facing that sent Billy Brewer scurrying for his joy-slide. A staggered Nicasio bobbed and weaved his way through the rest of the inning, surrendering a single to Braun, a double to Aramis Ramirez, and a run-scoring single to Alex Gonzalez, who has the dumbest looking beard in the major leagues. Colorado left-fielder Carlos Gonzalez bailed Nicasio out of further trouble by nailing Ramirez, trying to score from 2nd, at the plate.
But the right-hander re-grouped, holding Milwaukee scoreless for 3 additional innings, leaving after 6, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. He threw 97 pitches, 66 for strikes.
Young, who started for the over-paid Michael Cuddyer in right-field, got the lead back for the Rockies in the 5th, driving in Reid Brignac, in for Chris Nelson. Jordan Pacheco, starting for Todd Helton, got things going with a double to left, his first hit of 2013. After Josh Rutledge knocked Pacheco to 3rd with a ground-out, Brignac, in his first start as a Rockie, doubled over the head of Braun in left, scoring Pacheco. Nicasio bunted Brignac to 3rd, and he scored on Young’s single.
Chris Volstad came-on for Nicasio in the 7th and gave-up the Brewers’ 3rd run on back-to-back doubles by Weeks and Braun before striking-out Ramirez to end the Milwaukee threat. Rex Brothers set-up for Betancourt with a scoreless eighth.
It was a nail-biting 4-3 when Brignac singled to open the 9th off Brewers’ closer John Axford. The over-paid Cuddyer, in defensively for Young in right, followed with a towering bomb into the upper left-field deck to make it 6-3. Billy Brewer was unmoved. Jonny “Sparkplug” Herrera flew-out in his first 2013 plate appearance ahead of Dexter Fowler’s 2nd 2013 homer, both off of Axford. We got tacos. Betancourt dispatched the Brew Crew in the 9th.
It’s Opening Day at Coors Field Friday afternoon (2:10 pm MDT) with lefty Jeff Francis (6-7, 5.58 in 2012) on the mound for Colorado against former teammate Jason Marquis (1-1, 8.53 in 4 games for Minnesota in 2012) of the San Diego Padres. Sunny skies and 70° temperatures are predicted at 20th and Blake. Ed the Ump: ARE YOU BRINGING THE BUS?