Rockies 7, Brewers 3
DENVER (AP)—Being the first Taiwanese pitcher to reach the big leagues made Chin-hui Tsao a bundle of nerves.
Giving up a homer on his second pitch snapped him out of it.
“He said he has played baseball since he was in grade school, and he had never been so nervous in his whole life before,” Tsao’s interpreter Justin Yeh said. “When he gave up the home run, he said he was very nervous. That was like a reality check for him.”
After throwing a slider for a ball on the first pitch of the game, Tsao left a fastball up in the zone to Eric Young on the next. Young jumped on it, hitting it out to left for his 13th homer this season and 20th career leadoff homer.
In wasn’t much better for Tsao in the second.
But Tsao settled in after that. He allowed one more run—on John Vander Wal’s leadoff homer in the sixth—before being replaced after one-out single by Young in the seventh.
Tsao, the second player from Taiwan to reach the majors, allowed three runs on eight hits. Los Angeles outfielder Chin-Feng Chen became the first last September at Coors Field.
“I was very pleased with his effort, especially since the second bullet he fired up there ended up in the left-field bleachers,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “I thought he was very resilient, he was very focused.”
Tsao’s debut certainly created a buzz at Coors Field, where attendance has declined with Colorado well out of first place in the NL West.
The Rockies issued 40 extra media credentials, including 20 from Taiwanese media, and the game was televised in Taiwan. Several fans waived mini Taiwanese flags during the game and a group of Asian fans behind Colorado’s dugout held up “K” signs each time Tsao struck out a batter—five for the game.
Tsao, Colorado’s top pitching prospect since joining the team in 1999, waved his cap to a standing ovation from the fans after leaving the game, then received high-fives from his teammates at the steps of the dugout.
“He said he wasn’t expecting so many cheers from the crowd,” Yeh said. “He was very impressed and very happy to see that so many people over here were cheering for him.”
Larry Walker and Preston Wilson homered for Colorado, which had 10 hits following an 11-inning, 1-0 loss to the Dodgers the night before. The Rockies won for just the third time in nine games since the All-Star break.
Obermueller (0-1) matched Tsao most of the way, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Brewers from opening a 10-game road trip with their seventh straight loss at Coors Field.
“I liked his command, the way he was on the attack,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “He got into a little adversity, caught himself and got back. His ability to do that was impressive.”
Obermueller, making his first appearance of the season, needed just seven pitches in the first inning and allowed one hit in the first three.
Then things started to come apart in the fourth.
He walked Todd Helton after nearly hitting him twice, then Wilson hit a hanging curveball out to left for his 25th homer.
Walker followed with a 435-foot homer to center on another breaking ball, his 10th of the season and first since July 1, to put the Rockies up 4-2.
Jay Payton followed with a triple that nearly cleared the wall in right, but Obermueller stranded him there with two popups and a strikeout.
Obermueller, promoted Thursday night to replace injured rookie Matt Ford, allowed four runs—three earned—on five hits in six innings.
“I’m pretty happy about my outing tonight other than the one inning where they got the three runs,” said Obermueller, whose last start in the majors was last September with Kansas City.
“I felt like I lost a little bit of the aggressiveness I had the first couple innings. That obviously will come back to haunt you.”
Colorado scored three runs in the seventh on run-scoring doubles by GregNorton and Helton and a sacrifice fly by Walker.
Young’s homer extended Milwaukee’s extra-bases streak to 51 games, its longest since a 61-game run in late 2000. … The homers by Wilson and Walker were the sixth back-to-back by Colorado this season. It was the second time Wilson and Walker did it. … Obermueller had a single in the second, the ninth time in 14 games a Brewers pitcher got a hit. … The Rockies outrighted OF Mark Sweeney to Triple-A Colorado Springs before the game to make room forTsao.