MILWAUKEE -- The Rockies showed why they were a sexy preseason pick, even after losing Ian Desmond to injury. The Brewers showed they still have room for improvement.Mark Reynolds homered, scored twice and drove in three runs, and the Rockies capitalized on costly Brewers miscues for a 7-5 win on
MILWAUKEE -- The Rockies showed why they were a sexy preseason pick, even after losing Ian Desmond to injury. The Brewers showed they still have room for improvement.
Mark Reynolds homered, scored twice and drove in three runs, and the Rockies capitalized on costly Brewers miscues for a 7-5 win on Opening Day at Miller Park on Monday afternoon.
The Brewers lost starting pitcher Junior Guerra to a calf injury in the third inning, but knocked out Rockies starter Jon Gray during a five-run fifth and were trying to hold a 5-4 lead in the seventh before their defense -- last in the Majors last season with 136 errors -- faltered, allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
Colorado added an unearned run in the ninth on an error charged to Jonathan Villar before Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado ended the game with a defensive gem. He dove for a Ryan Braun grounder and started a double play that held up after replay review.
"We checked off a lot of boxes in that one -- that had a little bit of everything," said first-year, first-game Rockies manager Bud Black, who watched the teams use 13 combined pitchers.
Reynolds, starting at first base while Desmond recovers from a broken hand suffered in Spring Training, homered off a Guerra split-finger pitch in the second. He drove in a run on a hustle play -- he beat out a potential double-play relay -- in the fourth.
"Sometimes when you smell hits or smell RBIs, you get the extra gear, you know?" Reynolds said, smiling.
The Brewers, meanwhile, lamented losing Guerra -- and a game they were seven outs from winning.
"It's a big damper, but it's a long year," said Eric Thames, who hit a tying two-run double in his Brewers debut. "Games like that are going to happen. But it's the best teams that reduce games like that. That's OK for the first game, but we have to come out tomorrow and get after it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Control showed up late, yet on time: Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino started the eighth with eight balls on 11 pitches to walk Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton, who each advanced 90 feet on a double steal. Then Ottavino's dependability returned. He fanned Jett Bandy looking, had Orlando Arcia waving at a third-strike slider out of the zone, and fanned Hernan Perez. There was a brief scare when Perez punched an 0-2 pitch down the right-field line, but the ball was foul by about two feet and Ottavino finished him off -- then punched the air in triumph and relief.
"It was a little bit of both," he said. "I was a little bit embarrassed by how I faced the first two hitters. Once I had two outs, I was like, 'Can't stop now. You've got to get this guy.'"
It was a vicious flashback for the Brewers, who led the Majors with 393 strikeouts with runners in scoring position, and had the fourth-lowest RISP average (.238) in 2016. More >
New Crew fuels big fifth: The Brewers were shut out through the first four innings by Gray -- who had fanned seven -- before sending 10 men to the plate in a five-run fifth that featured some big moments from Milwaukee's offseason acquisitions. Bandy sparked the rally with a single, and Eric Thames followed Villar's two-run double with one of his own, tying the game at 4 and knocking Gray from the game before the 25-year-old could record an out in the inning. Two batters later, another new Brewer, Travis Shaw, made it 5-4 with another double, his second of the game.
Gray said after mixing pitches well the first four innings, he became tunnel-visioned after Bandy's single.
"I was wanting to get a ground ball and started making a lot of pitches to the bottom of the zone, and they scooped about every one of them to the outfield," Gray said. "I've got to use the whole zone right there.
"I'm a little ticked off about it. But it's great to see our team come back like that. They picked me up. I need to do the same."
"Five innings of no-run ball if you add it up. All of them had a little hit of stress put on them with the exception of Estevez -- he had the 1-2-3 inning. They got their outs. They made their pitches."
-- Black, on the Rockies' bullpen -- worst in the Majors last year with a 5.13 ERA -- winning the opener with five scoreless innings by Scott Oberg, Carlos Estevez, Mike Dunn, Ottavino and Greg Holland (who earned his first save in his Rockies debut).
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Blackmon's RBI, courtesy of Villar's bobble, was his first in 11 games at Miller Park. … The Brewers became the 11th team since 1913 to use seven pitchers in a nine-inning Opening Day game.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Rockies ended the game by turning a terrific double play. Arenado's diving stop was made on a 108-mph grounder, according to Statcast™, and started a 5-4-3 relay. Braun was out at first base on a close call, which was confirmed after a 30-second review.
"There's a reason the guy has won so many Gold Gloves," Braun said. "Without a doubt, one of the best defenders overall in our game, and probably the best defensive first baseman."
GUERRA EXITS EARLY
Guerra pitched all over the world on his way to his first Opening Day start, only to see it cut short in the third inning. The 32-year-old strained his right calf after executing a sacrifice bunt and will be placed on the 10-day disabled list, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. More >
Rockies: Lefty Tyler Anderson, who will start the season's second game against the Brewers on Tuesday, produced a solid rookie year in 2016, striking out 99 against 28 walks after coming up in June. This spring, he fanned 16 and walked three. First pitch is at 5:40 p.m. MT.
Brewers: Last year at this time, Zach Davies was in Triple-A. Now he is starting the Brewers' second game of the season, a 6:40 p.m. CT start in which Davies hopes to continue his success from last season. The right-hander, armed with a terrific changeup, went 11-4 with a 3.54 ERA over his final 25 starts in 2016.
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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.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.