DENVER -- The Rockies powered their way back to the top of the National League Wild Card race while dealing Matt Garza and the Brewers a tough start to a critical three-city road trip.
Big nights from Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez led the Rockies over the Brewers, 8-4, on Friday night at Coors Field as Colorado broke a tie atop the NL Wild Card standings with the D-backs, who lost to the Twins. Blackmon, Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra all homered off Garza for a six-run Rockies lead by the fifth inning.
"We know that this is a big series," Gonzalez said. "So we're really happy that we started the series the right way. We'll try to win the series tomorrow and then if we have the opportunity to sweep them, that's gonna be even bigger for us."
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Brewers, who began a nine-game trip to Colorado, San Francisco and Los Angeles by falling to two games behind the Cubs -- and to third place -- in the NL Central race. They are two games behind the Cubs, who beat the Blue Jays, and one-half game behind the Cardinals, who held on for a wild win in Pittsburgh.
"It's not something we wanted to come in and do, but it's not going to defeat us for the rest of the trip at all," said Milwaukee center fielder Keon Broxton, who belted one of the Brewers' three home runs. "I think getting this first loss is really going to turn us around. I think tomorrow, we're going to come back with a little bit more of a chip on our shoulder and get things done the right way."
The long ball plagued each side's pitcher, as Garza and Rockies starter German Marquez combined to give up six home runs. Blackmon homered leading off for the 28th time in his career, leading the franchise. It was his 29th homer of the season.
Facing a good fastball-hitting team like the Brewers, Marquez -- a power pitcher -- stuck to his strengths, despite giving up four runs. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy said that was the game plan all along.
"You always go with the pitcher's strengths over the hitter's strengths," Lucroy said. "Because you've gotta swing at 90-mph sinkers. They turned some around, but we mixed stuff up and he limited the damage. Solo home runs aren't gonna beat you."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gotta hand it to him:Nolan Arenado has been hit on his left hand twice this week -- first by a Vance Worley fastball Sunday in Miami and then on a short-hop grounder Thursday against the Braves. But Arenado hasn't missed a game, starting four of five, and his bat hasn't suffered. Each of Arenado's hits since he first got injured has gone for extra bases, including a two-run triple over Domingo Santana's head to give the Rockies a 3-2 lead in the third. Later, he hit a foul ball 448 feet, per Statcast™, which would have been his eighth-deepest home run since Statcast™ was introduced.
"I just want to play. If we were in the Dodgers' position, I probably would take a couple days, you know? But we don't have that luxury," Arenado said. "I believe, for instance, me being in the lineup, it helps D.J. [LeMahieu], or whatever. There's little things to the game that people don't understand. I know that I can do that. I'm hurting, but it's not the worst thing I've ever been through." More >>
Off his Marq: Broxton and Orlando Arcia did most of the Brewers' home run damage, cranking back-to-back shots in the sixth. The home runs knocked Marquez out of the game and cut the Rockies' lead to 8-4. Broxton's homer was his 20th and Arcia's was his 12th, both increasing their career highs. Ditto for Santana, who also hit No. 20.
"Me and 'Mingo talked about it a lot throughout the entire season, so for both of us to do it on the same day is really awesome," Broxton said. "Everybody in this clubhouse pulls for each other and wants everybody to succeed. To be able to scratch that off the list is really awesome." More >>
"Just another one. Just another one. We just keep playing ball and don't worry about anything but ourselves, and we'll be alright. We hit the ball well tonight and I didn't hold up my end of the bargain. That's that." -- Garza, on the importance of this Brewers trip
"I think it was fair. That's what it looked like for me, because I crushed it. When I hit it, it looked like it was gonna stay fair. And I think it did. You just can't tell from up there. What are you gonna do?" -- Arenado ,on his mammoth foul ball in the fifth inning.
"I did, I did [see the replay]. I thought it was terrible," Marquez, joking about sliding into second base after hitting his double in the third inning.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Blackmon's first-inning leadoff homer gave him 77 RBIs this season -- the most from the No. 1 spot in the Majors this season. The Astros' George Springer is second with 70. Interestingly, here is a look at the players he's knocked in the most:
• Himself, 29
• Tony Wolters, 13
• Alexi Amarista, 7
• Trevor Story, 7
• Parra, 4
• Dustin Garneau, 3
• Pat Valaika, 3
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Here was something you rarely see: In the middle of an Arcia plate appearance in the fourth inning, Brewers manager Craig Counsell stepped out of the dugout for a word with plate umpire Jim Wolf. Counsell wanted Wolf to review the balls and strikes, and after a convergence of umps on the infield, Wolf agreed. After a one minute and five second crew chief review, it was determined that Arcia had already looked at ball four, and he was granted first base on a walk.
"He's human. It happens," Counsell said. "We all noticed it. Arcia didn't give a reaction, which kind of puts you back on your heels a little bit. But then a couple people spoke up."
Brewers: Rookie Brandon Woodruff makes his third career start when the series continues Saturday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Woodruff knows the challenges of pitching at high altitude after spending most of this season with Triple-A Colorado Springs. He posted a 5.65 ERA in 10 home starts there.
Rockies:Chad Bettis makes his second start since his recovery from testicular cancer on Saturday. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. MT. Bettis threw seven scoreless innings his last time out against the Braves on just 90 pitches. His last start of the 2016 season came against the Brewers, when he gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings.
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