Rockies 10, Brewers 6
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Clint Hurdle isn’t worried about the road-readiness of his Rockies, regardless of a 1-9 trip two weeks ago. Colorado’s performance Friday night showed why.
“It’s the best trip I’ve ever been on where a team went 1-9,” said Hurdle, referring to the swing through Toronto, the Chicago Cubs and Houston from June 22 to July 1. “You’ve got to keep it context.
“We can play on the road, and this club has proven to itself it can win on the road,” the Rockies’ manager added. “But we’ve got to do it for a length of time, and in the second half it’s going to be big that we take that step forward.”
Matt Holliday also homered, and Todd Helton had a two-run double for Colorado, which moved back above .500 (45-44) and won for the sixth time in seven games by scoring twice in the third, three times in the fourth and four times in the fifth.
Ryan Braun had two homers and drove in four runs for Milwaukee (49-40), which has lost six of seven and has seen its lead in the NL Central shrink to 3 1/2 games over the Cubs.
Jeff Francis (9-5) struggled to win his fourth straight decision. He gave up six runs and seven hits in five innings, but hit a key two-run double in the fourth and moved to 8-1 in his last 13 starts.
Francis struck out seven and walked two, and his 39 career victories with the Rockies tie him with Kevin Ritz for No. 3 on the franchise list.
“I don’t know how many runs we’ve scored per game the last two weeks, but I’ll tell you what, for pitchers it’s great. For the whole team, it’s great,” said Francis, who called the 1-9 trip “a bump in the road.”
“It says a lot about the kind of guys we have in that lineup,” Francis said. “It seems like it’s a different guy every night scoring a run or hitting a home run.”
Capuano lasted just three-plus innings to equal his shortest outing of the season. He gave up five runs and six hits, walking three and striking out three.
Capuano also went three innings against St. Louis on May 2 before leaving with an injury. His last victory came five days later, when he moved to 5-0 to start the season. But in his last nine starts, Capuano is 0-6 with a 7.74 ERA, and spent time on the disabled list with a strained left groin.
“He’s definitely struggling right now,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “It’s a slump. He’s human.”
Helton had a two-run double for Colorado in the third, but Braun and Prince Fielder hit back-to-back home runs for the second time in three games in the bottom of the inning to give Milwaukee a 4-2 lead.
Colorado scored three more times in the fourth before adding four runs in the fifth. Garrett Atkins walked with one out, and Tulowitzki homered to right for his 10th of the season and seventh in his last 17 games. Brad Hawpe then walked, and Torrealba homered to deep left to make it 9-5.
“Last year we were very soft at the bottom of the order,” Hurdle said. “We have improved from top to bottom, and I felt the bottom would become a bigger factor as we went forward, and it has. Torrealba, he’s not a .230 hitter. And Tulowitzki, what he’s doing speaks for itself.”
Braun’s solo homer in the fifth gave him 13 since the Brewers purchased his contract from Triple-A Nashville on May 24. Braun also hit two homers July 6 at Washington, and is hitting .414 (34 for 82) in his last 20 games.
“We don’t really care what anybody else things,” Hurdle said. “For the doubters, write what you want to write, talk about what you want to talk about. That’s what you do. But we know what we need to do, and we know where we need to keep our focus, and that’s what we’re doing.”
There was a scary moment in the seventh when Brewers 1B Prince Fielder reached on a broken-bat single to center. All but the knob of the bat flew into the stands between home plate and first base and appeared to strike a woman in the head. Ushers asked the Brewers’ batboys for a towel to stop the bleeding. The woman was alert as she was taken to first aid at the stadium—and got to keep the bat. … Before the game, the Rockies placed lefty closer Brian Fuentes on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 4, with a mild strain of his left latissimus dorsi muscle. To take his place on the roster, Colorado recalled IF Omar Quintanilla from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Fuentes last pitched July 3. He was selected to the NL All-Star team but had to be replaced on the roster because of the injury.