PHOENIX -- Hernan Perez and Trevor Story traded solo home runs, and Colorado's Chad Bettis pitched for the first time since cancer surgery. But the defenses stole the spotlight on Sunday, when the Brewers beat the Rockies, 9-4, at Maryvale Baseball Park in a preview of the Opening Day matchup
PHOENIX -- Hernan Perez and Trevor Story traded solo home runs, and Colorado's Chad Bettis pitched for the first time since cancer surgery. But the defenses stole the spotlight on Sunday, when the Brewers beat the Rockies, 9-4, at Maryvale Baseball Park in a preview of the Opening Day matchup at Miller Park.
Brewers outfield prospect Ryan Cordell lifted a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, and Jesus Aguilar and Minor Leaguer Nick Noonan hit back-to-back homers in the seventh.
The Brewers and Rockies combined for a series of highlight-reel plays.
For the Brewers, second baseman Yadiel Rivera snared a low line drive in the first inning to start a surprise double play, then teamed with shortstop Orlando Arcia for another slick double play in the third. For the Rockies, third baseman Nolan Arenado made a charging, barehanded play on Cordell's swinging bunt in the third, and first baseman Jordan Patterson made a nice diving stop of Eric Thames' hard grounder in the fourth.
"It's always fun when you're out there and you know have good defense behind you," said Brewers left-hander Tommy Milone after pitching two scoreless innings in his first spring start. "It makes you a little more at ease. You're not trying to put pressure on yourself to make that perfect pitch. Just put the ball over the plate, and let them do their thing."
Bettis pitched a perfect first inning in his first start since surgery in November for testicular cancer. He allowed a solo homer in the second to Perez, who appeared in his final game before playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
The homer was the only hit off Bettis in two innings, during which he struck out two.
"It did feel different, but that being said, it was fun," Bettis said. "That's one thing I really want to focus on having this year -- a lot more fun. There were some things I need to learn from this. I was anxious, excited, adrenaline was pumping, a little nervous and I need to slow the game back down a little bit. This is a good first step."
Story answered for the Rockies in the fourth with his second homer of the spring, connecting off Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson. Lefty Kyle Freeland, the Rockies' No. 1 pick in the 2014 Draft and a competitor for a rotation spot, rebounded from giving up four runs (three earned) in his first Spring outing to throw two spotless innings.
Rockies up next: Righty Tyler Chatwood will face off against Dodgers lefty Scott Kazmir on Monday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick at 1:10 p.m. MT. Veteran righty Adam Ottavino, lefty prospect Harrison Musgrave and righty bullpen hopefuls Scott Oberg, Shane Carle and Miguel Castro are scheduled to pitch.
Brewers up next: Former Cleveland Indian Jesus Aguilar will get a look at his former club on Monday, when the Brewers travel to Goodyear, Ariz., for a 2:05 p.m. CT game. The Brewers claimed Aguilar off waivers on Feb. 2, and are looking at him as a backup first baseman and right-handed power bat off the bench. He is scheduled to start Monday's game at first base, with Matt Garza on the mound for Milwaukee.
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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.