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Early runs hold up in Brewers' 7-5 win

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies were unable to overcome a poor start on Saturday night by Collin McHugh.

McHugh was hit hard from the outset of his debut with the Rockies in his bid to fill the void at the back of their rotation.

The Milwaukee Brewers scored six runs off McHugh in three innings and held on to beat the Rockies 7-5. It was just the second win in six games for the Brewers since the suspension of Ryan Braun.

McHugh started in place of injured Drew Pomeranz but fared no better than Pomeranz or injured Roy Oswalt. They have most recently occupied the fifth spot in the Rockies' rotation and are a combined 0-8 with a 7.86 ERA in eight starts.

The Rockies are searching for someone to become part of what recently has been a very strong rotation. Indeed, Rockies starters had a combined 2.08 ERA in 15 games since July 8, and McHugh became the first during that span to allow more than three runs. He gave up six runs in the first three innings.

"You just hate to leave your team in a hole like that early on because the guys have been struggling to swing the bat a little bit," McHugh said. "and you want to give them as much cushion as you can."

McHugh pitched five innings but had trouble early, giving up nine hits, including eight in the first three innings, including four for extra bases.

The barrage began when Rickie Weeks led off what became a three-run first with a double. He was sacrificed to third and scored on Jean Segura's single.

Jonathan Lucroy doubled -- his line drive hitting McHugh above his right ankle and ricocheting into right field -- and Carlos Gomez hit a sacrifice fly. Caleb Gindl followed with a double to make it 3-0.

With two out in the second, Norichika Aoki bunted for a hit. He stole second and scored on Segura's single. Gomez led off the third with a single and with one out, Juan Francisco drove his 13th home run into the right-field stands to make it 6-0.

"The balls I got hurt on were a fastball to Francisco that he just turned on," McHugh said. "We'd been going in him all night, and he just guessed right and put a really good swing on it.

"I hung a curveball to the left fielder (Gindl), I don't remember his name, but he hit it in the gap. A couple pitches that you wish you could get back. But overall, I have to execute better."

From the bottom of the fifth inning on, the game was played in a steady rain that was heavy at times and finally caused the game to be halted after the Brewers batted in the ninth. After a delay of 1 hour, 45 minutes, closer Jim Henderson took the mound. He struck out two of the three batters he faced and picked up his 12th save.

After being held to three singles for five scoreless innings by Tom Gorzelanny, the Rockies broke through with four runs in the sixth. With one out, DJ LeMahieu doubled and scored when Troy Tulowitzki lined a single to center. Gorzelanny walked Michael Cuddyer, and Wilin Rosario hit a three-run homer. The home run was Rosario's 14th of the season, his first in 59 at-bats since June 28 and it finished Gorzelanny.

Conditions were worsening in that inning, but Gorzelanny turned down a request from the groundskeeper to have a drying agent put on the mound before he began the inning.

"He asked me if I wanted to fix it," Gorzelanny said, "but I said no because I didn't want to take a five-minute break. I wanted to keep pitching."

Asked if the condition of the mound was getting bad in the sixth, Gorzelanny said, "It wasn't as tough as I made it for myself."

Lucroy homered off Adam Ottavino with two out in the seventh. It was Lucroy's 17th homer and the first allowed by Otttavino in 33 2/3 innings since May 9.

Tulowitzki cut Milwaukee's lead to 7-5 with his 18th home run leading off the eighth against John Axford, who had just entered the game and had not been scored upon in 31 of his past 32 appearances.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss praised McHugh for not allowing runs in the fourth and fifth, keeping the bullpen from being used early and keeping the Rockies within striking distance.

"The silver lining, I guess if there ever is one in a loss," Weiss said, "is the guys battled their way back and had a shot there."

NOTES: Segura left the game in the sixth inning with tightness in his right forearm. In the fourth, a pitch from McHugh glanced off Segura's bat and nailed him on the forearm. ... The Brewers stole five bases, all against McHugh. They lead the majors with 94 stolen bases. ...Rockies RHP Mitchell Boggs was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room on the roster for McHugh. In two appearances with the Rockies, Boggs pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. McHugh is the ninth starter the Rockies have used this season. ... Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez did not play for a second straight day because of a sprained right middle finger that he aggravated taking a swing on Thursday. ... Rockies RHP Rafael Betancourt (appendicitis) said he was "still a little sore" but exercised in a pool for the first time since his appendectomy on July 19. ... Rockies RHP Roy Oswalt (left hamstring strain) said he felt fine after throwing 15 pitches off the mound on Friday at about 80 percent power. He is scheduled for a bullpen session Tuesday at Atlanta. Oswalt has been on the disabled list since July 8. ... Brewers RHP Marco Estrada (left hamstring) faced hitters in batting practice Friday and is scheduled to throw two innings Monday with the Brewers team in the Arizona Rookie League, the first of three scheduled starts. ... Brewers RHP Tyler Thornberg, who has been pitching out of the bullpen, is expected to start one game of a doubleheader on Tuesday at the Chicago Cubs if manager Ron Roenicke can avoid using him in the next few days.
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