Rox use power, finesse to get Weiss first win
Tulo, CarGo homer before Colorado's small-ball rally in seventh
MILWAUKEE -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki proved Tuesday night, for the second straight game, that he could hit the ball a long way. But sometimes, a more subtle swing will do.
Tulowitzki's seventh-inning sacrifice fly touched off a big, small-ball inning of three runs that keyed new Rockies manager Walt Weiss' first victory -- an 8-4 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park in front of 24,753.
"I was just going to compete, do what I could do, compete," said Tulowitzki, whose sacrifice fly came at the end of a tough, seven-pitch at-bat against ground-ball pitcher Burke Badenhop.
In Monday's opener, the Rockies scored all their runs on homers by Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler but didn't execute with runners on base early and fell in 10 innings, 5-4.
Tuesday's game seemed like more of the same. Cleanup man Tulowitzki's third-inning solo shot and Gonzalez's two-run job in the fifth, both off Brewers starter Marco Estrada, were good enough to help the Rockies to a 4-4 tie through six, but multiple baserunners didn't score. The Rockies also struck out 11 times in six innings, eight against Estrada. They had fanned eight times in Monday's final five innings.
In the seventh, however, after a Spring Training during which Weiss emphasized smarts and new hitting coach Dante Bichette preached a "bullet-proof approach" -- one that works with two strikes or in pressure situations -- paid dividends.
The Rockies loaded the bases without knocking the ball out of the infield against Michael Gonzalez (0-1), on Fowler's walk, Josh Rutledge's bunt single and Carlos Gonzalez's infield hit on which all Brewers first baseman Alex Gonzalez could do was stop the ball and duck from a shattered and flying bat head.
Badenhop entered, and the Rockies scored on him softly, on Tulowitzki's sacrifice, Michael Cuddyer's infield single and Todd Helton's soft single to center.
"What do you do about an inning like that?" Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
The infield RBI was part of a big night for Cuddyer, who went 3-for-5. He also reached into the stands to grab an Alex Gonzalez foul popup in the sixth and dove to rob Gonzalez of an eighth-inning hit and leaped to his feet to double Jonathan Lucroy off second.
Rutledge added a sacrifice fly against Tom Gorzelanny in an eighth that was similar to the seventh. Yorvit Torrealba drew a leadoff walk and Reid Brignac dropped a bunt single, and each advanced on Fowler's fielder's choice to set up the Rutledge fly.
"We won with a little bit of everything tonight," Tulowitzki said.
After seeing the Brewers erase a deficit in Monday's opener with an inning that featured soft hits, the Rockies felt luck would be on their side if they played as well and executed a little better.
"Luck's going to happen," Tulowitzki said. "You take a look at yesterday's game and they ran into a little bit of luck, too, with some of the infield hits."
To do so for Weiss, the first former Rockies player to manage the club, was especially satisfying for Helton, who entered the Majors in 1997 -- Weiss's final season with the club.
"I'm happy, proud of him," Helton said. "It's the first of many."
Weiss, who entered the Majors with the Athletics under likely future Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, used aggressive strategy that was unusual but statistically based.
In the second, Rockies lefty starter Jorge De La Rosa gave up two runs on three hits, including doubles by Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez. Ryan Braun swatted an opposite-field, two-run homer in the third. The hit made Braun 8-for-11 with two homers and nine RBIs in his career against De La Rosa.
Once De La Rosa walked Rickie Weeks to bring up Braun with one out in the fifth -- with De La Rosa needing to retire two batters to at least be eligible for his first win since May 13, 2011, before elbow surgery -- Weiss went to Edgmer Escalona (1-0).
"It's tough to make that call in the fifth, but I thought it was the right thing to do at that time," Weiss said.
De La Rosa said, "It surprised me a little bit because I just had 77 pitches, but they took me out. It's good because we won."
Escalona worked Braun into a fly to right to begin his scoreless 1 2/3 innings with one hit, one walk and one strikeout. It was Escalona's first Major League win.
"I think he was looking for my slider because last year I threw a slider high and he hit me," said Escalona, a hard thrower who made 41 appearances over the last three seasons but is on a season-opening roster for the first time. "'I threw my fastball. I think he felt comfortable. But I said, 'No. I'm the best here. I'm the best this moment.'"