Braun, Jungmann carry Brewers
DENVER -- Ryan Braun's two-run homer and Aramis Ramirez's solo shot in the first inning paced the Brewers, who sent the Rockies to their ninth loss in 10 games and fifth straight, 9-5, at Coors Field on Friday night.
"We hadn't played with an early-game lead in awhile, so it was a good night from the offense," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
The Brewers scored six times in the first four innings against Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa (4-3), who had been undefeated with a 2.56 ERA in his previous five starts. De La Rosa yielded 11 hits, struck out four and walked three -- including Shane Peterson with the bases loaded in the third. The Brewers added three runs off reliever Christian Bergman in the seventh.
"He'd been throwing the ball outstanding the last five or six games out, but he really struggled with command early on," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
De La Rosa started poorly and didn't get much better.
"It wasn't only the first inning. It was all the innings," De La Rosa said. "I did the same thing. That's why we lost the game.
"With the stuff I had today, it's nothing I can live with. Anyone can see it."
Brewers starter Taylor Jungmann (2-1) pitched around eight hits and held the Rockies to four runs in six innings.
"Taylor did a heck of a job," Counsell said. "For me, the starting pitcher at Coors Field, you just try to beat the other starting pitcher. That's your job. That's who you're going against. Just beat him, and he did that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
At it early: The opening frame hadn't been a strong point for the Brewers this season, but Milwaukee made the first inning count on Friday. They quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead, gave Jungmann some early confidence and never trailed the rest of the way. The Brewers hadn't produced runs in the opening frame since June 12, and they entered having been outscored, 41-29, with a .208 batting average in the opening inning. More >
Give 'em the heat: Jungmann came out firing in his third start of the season. He opened the game with 31 straight fastballs -- which ranged from 91 to 95 mph -- and didn't throw an offspeed pitch until delivering an 0-2 curveball to De La Rosa in the third. The all-heater approach was rather effective -- Jungmann gave up just one hit through the first three innings.
"I think any time you can get through the lineup the first time around on a fastball if you're spotting it, it's something you want to do," Jungmann said. "It's tough to throw a breaking ball here, so if [the fastball] was working, we weren't going to change a whole lot."
Arriving a little late: Denver temperatures reached the 90s during the day and the official reading was 86 at game time. Runs tend to pile on nights like that. But the Rockies looked zapped while falling behind 6-0 in the first three innings. However, Nolan Arenado, the team's RBI leader, lifted his total to 53 with a two-run triple with one out in the fourth that saw the Rockies score three times.
Get him in … Please: Ben Paulsen's one-out triple in the sixth, for his second RBI, cut the deficit to 6-4 and represented the Rockies' best chance to erase the early deficit. But Nick Hundley struck out and Brandon Barnes flied to right field. The Rockies went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"It's tough, because we know how we can swing the bat and how we can put up runs -- we're a good ballclub," Paulsen said. "Pitching, bullpen … We're a lot better than what we've been playing. We've got to keep our confidence."
"He has a Jered Weaver-type delivery, and he's a cross-firer. His fastball cuts and sinks and moves all over the place, so we really didn't have to go to anything else throughout the first time through the lineup." -- Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Jungmann
"We haven't resorted to anything. We're still playing the same music. Everybody's doing the same BP [batting practice]. Everybody has confidence in our ability to play hard and play tough. That's all we can ask." -- Paulsen on how the team is handling the struggles
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Brewers and the Rockies have been in or tied for last place for a total of 114 days this season -- 72 for the Brewers in the National League Central and 42 for the Rockies in the NL West. But the Brewers avoided falling 21 games below .500 for the first time since the 2004 season, when they finished 27 under (67-94).
HIT WITH THE BOOK
Even the Rule Book worked against the Rockies. In the ninth, Nick Hundley's dribbler pulled Brewers first baseman Jason Rogers into the basepath, just in front of the bag. Rogers bobbled the ball and was reaching for it when Hundley, with nowhere to go, bumped him. But because the ball was still within Rogers' reach, by rule Hundley was called for interference and therefore was ruled out.
"It's the rule," Hundley said. "Either the rule has to change or I have to be able to avert 20 inches or be able to jump over him in the blink of an eye, like Superman."
Had the ball bounded out of Rogers' reach, it would have been obstruction and Hundley's attempt to reach the bag would've made him safe.
Jean Segura led off the game with a groundout to second, but Counsell challenged the out call at first. Video evidence, however, upheld the ruling.
Brewers: Kyle Lohse (3-8, 6.44 ERA) gets the ball on Saturday afternoon at 3:10 CT and enters with mixed results against the Rockies. In 14 career games, he's 6-4 with a 4.39 ERA, including a disastrous outing earlier this year. On Opening Day, Colorado tagged Lohse for 10 hits and eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings.
Rockies: Right-hander Chad Bettis (2-2, 3.74 ERA) hopes to stem the Rockies' losing ways against the Brewers at Coors Field on Saturday at 2:10 p.m. MT (Root Sports Rocky Mountain/850 KOA).
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.