The Brewers look for a four-game split when they face the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
After his team hit .194 and was outscored 16-3 while losing the first two games of this series, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke dropped leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks(notes) into the No. 5 hole for the first time in his career and moved Corey Hart(notes) into the top spot for the first time since 2009.
The results were overwhelmingly positive, with Weeks and Hart each hitting a two-run homer in Saturday’s 8-7 victory. Weeks’ ninth-inning go-ahead shot also made Francisco Rodriguez a winner in his Milwaukee debut.
“We needed this one,” Rodriguez said. “We had dropped the first two games of the series. It was huge to come back and win it.”
The Brewers (50-45), who had dropped 12 of 15 on the road and 15 of 18 at Coors Field, could be without Braun in the series finale after he left in the sixth inning Saturday with tightness in his left hamstring and calf. Braun, whose career-high 23-game hitting streak ended in Friday’s 4-0 loss, missed the final eight games before the All-Star break with a strained left calf.
Milwaukee, one-half game back of NL Central-leading St. Louis, will face Aaron Cook(notes) (0-4, 5.82 ERA) as it tries to win two straight away from Miller Park for the first time since a season-best four-game run June 3-6.
Colorado’s sinkerballer is the franchise leader with 69 wins, 195 starts and nearly 1,250 innings, but in six starts since missing the first two months of this season with a fractured right ring finger, Cook has more walks (14) than strikeouts (13) and opponents are batting .343 against him.
In his last start, the right-hander yielded a season-high seven runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings of a 9-1 loss at Atlanta on July 6.
“I feel bad because I’m letting the team down,” Cook told the Rockies’ official website. “I want to go out there and give us a chance to win games, because that’s what I’ve done most of my career.”
Cook may be pitching to keep a spot in the rotation. Manager Jim Tracy wouldn’t address that July 6, but he did say that the Cook “needs to get the ball down” and his “sinker can’t go side-to-side across the plate, it has to go down toward the plate.”
The veteran right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA while Milwaukee has dropped his last five starts. Marcum closed out his first half July 9 by giving up three runs in six innings of an 8-4, 10-inning loss to Cincinnati.
In his first career start versus Colorado, Marcum struck out eight and allowed one run in eight innings of a 3-2 home win May 21.
With a victory, the Brewers would move to 5-2 against Colorado (45-49) and clinch the season series for the first time in five years. The teams play two more times in Milwaukee in September.