DENVER (AP)—For two games and seven innings, it looked as if the Milwaukee Brewers were going to get out of Coors Field with three relatively easy wins.
Manager Ned Yost knew better.
Milwaukee nearly blew a six-run lead in the eighth before holding on for its fifth straight victory, 10-9 over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
“You can get a six, seven-run lead in this park and there’s no lead that’s safe,” Yost said. “Today was a good example of it.”
Without a doubt.
The Brewers led 10-4 heading into the eighth inning behind a four-run fourth and six solid innings from Victor Santos, but the Rockies came charging back.
Aaron Miles followed with a two-run single off Luis Vizcaino, and Todd Helton made it 10-9 with a sacrifice fly after pinch-hitter Royce Clayton struck out. Preston Wilson got the fans to their feet with a hard-hit ball to right-center, but it was caught on the warning track within a few feet of where Helton’s ball came down.
Danny Kolb pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 25 chances, retiring Johnson with a runner on third to end it.
“I took a deep breath with each swing in the eighth and ninth,” Overbay said.
Ben Grieve was 4-for-5 and Santos (7-3) allowed four runs and nine hits, giving Milwaukee its first sweep in Denver and second overall against the Rockies.
“We had a chance to win earlier in the year and we weren’t finding ways to win,” Overbay said. “Now we are doing that.”
The Rockies aren’t.
Colorado has lost five straight and seven of 10, dropping 21 games below .500 for the first time since Aug. 8, 2001 (46-67).
“We’re finding different ways to (lose),” Clayton said. “It’s getting real old.”
The Rockies certainly can’t blame the offense.
Helton homered for the second straight game and had three RBIs. Miles, Holliday and Johnson each drove in two runs. Colorado also matched the Brewers with 14 hits.
None of it was enough to overcome another horrible start by Denny Stark (0-3).
The right-hander, called up Thursday after two months at Triple-A Colorado Springs, retired the side in the first inning before giving up a run in the second on Bennett’s groundout. Stark then allowed three more runs in the third on Geoff Jenkins’ single and Overbay’s two-run double off the wall in left-center.
And it didn’t get any better for him in the fourth inning.
Stark was touched for two more runs when center fielder Wilson was charged with an error after misjudging Jenkins’ fly against the wall, then gave up another run on a wild pitch. Stark was lifted after Helms made it 8-1 with a run-scoring single.
Stark walked off the field to a chorus of boos after giving up eight runs— four earned—and nine hits in just 3 2-3 innings.
“I was pretty amped up there today and I think it showed,” said Stark, who was optioned to Triple-A in April after giving up 15 earned runs his first two starts. “I just felt like I was overthrowing all day.”
He didn’t allow a hit until Holliday lined a single leading off the third inning, then gave up a run-scoring double to Johnson.
Helton hit Santos’ first pitch of the fourth inning into the second deck in right for his 15th homer and followed with a run-scoring single in the fifth, but that only cut Milwaukee’s lead to 8-3.
“This was a quality outing for me,” said Santos, who had no walks. “You walk out of Coors Field (with a win) on a day when the ball is flying out likecrazy, I have to think I did pretty good.”
Brewers CF Scott Podsednik was a last-minute scratch from the lineup because of the flu. … Walker didn’t start one day after getting hit No. 2,000. … Milwaukee starts a stretch of 29 games against its own division Friday with a doubleheader against Pittsburgh. … Milwaukee’s Junior Spiveystruck out seven times in the three-game series, including twice Thursday.