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Weiss gets first victory as Rockies beat Brewers

The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- There was a bottle of champagne on the side of Walt Weiss' desk, in commemoration of his first managerial victory.

When passing out glasses to toast his players, Weiss might want to start with his bullpen. Five Colorado relievers combined to shut out the Brewers over the final 4 2/3 innings as the Rockies beat Milwaukee, 8-4, Tuesday at Miller Park.

"It was good to see our bullpen bounce back," Weiss said, a day after his bullpen lost the game in the 10th inning. "It was tough to make that call (pulling starter Jorge De La Rosa in the fifth) but we felt it was the right move with (Ryan) Braun and (Aramis) Ramirez coming up."

De La Rosa went 4 1/3 innings in his first start of the season and just his third since returning from Tommy John surgery that kept him out for more than year. He allowed four runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three.

He also allowed an opposite-field home run to Braun in the third, and noting Milwaukee's ability to hit lefties -- as well as Braun's history against De La Rosa (.727, three doubles, two home runs, nine RBI) -- Weiss made the switch after De La Rosa issued a one-out walk to Rickie Weeks in the fifth, and brought in Edgmer Escalona, who earned his first victory of the season.

"I threw a lot of good pitches," said De La Rosa, who began his career with the Brewers. "I was surprised they took me out because I only had 70-some pitches."

The Rockies offense did its part, too. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki each homered for the second straight game and a three-run seventh broke open a 4-4 tie.

Against Milwaukee reliever Michael Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler led off with a walk and Josh Rutledge and Carlos Gonzalez followed with base hits, loading the bases. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke called on Burke Badenhop to face Troy Tulowitzki, who drove in the go-ahead run on a sac fly to center and Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton scored two more with back-to-back RBI singles before Chris Nelson grounded into a inning-ending double play.

"We had great at-bats in the seventh," said Cuddyer, who went 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. "It was a great inning for us and obviously, won us the game."

Braun's home run would mark the high point for Milwaukee's offense, which got off to a good start against De la Rosa.

Down 1-0 in the second, Milwaukee went ahead when Ramirez led off with a double down the left-field line and with two outs, Carlos Gomez drove him home with a double to left.

Tulowitzki made it a 2-2 game in the third with his second home run in as many games but Braun hit his first homer of the season in the bottom of the inning, taking a De La Rosa fastball to the opposite field and giving Milwaukee a 4-2 lead.

The lead wouldn't last long. Josh Rutledge opened the fifth with a single and Carlos Gonzalez followed with his second home run of the season; a first-pitch fastball to right center, tying the game at 4-4.

Estrada worked out of it, striking out Tulowitzki and Cuddyer before getting Helton to fly out to center, ending the inning and his day. Estrada went a full five innings and allowed four runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts.

"Two pitches got away from me and two good hitters did what they were supposed to with them. They were up and away pitches and they put them up over wall," Estrada said. "They just seemed like they were on. They have been on the last two games at least. They've got a lot of hits."

Michael Gonzalez's bad inning was as much a product of bad luck. After walking Fowler, Rutledge reached on a bunt in front of the plate. Carlos Gonzalez hit what looked like a perfect double-play ball to Milwaukee first baseman Alex Gonzalez, but his bat broke and Alex Gonzalez backed off slightly to avoid being hit by the shard of flying bat.

Instead of having two outs, and one on, the bases were loaded with nobody out and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke went to his bullpen.

"What do you do about an inning like that? That's weird. You don't see too many innings that could go bad with really pretty good pitches," Roenicke said. "A bunt that maybe we should make a play on. The broken bat, I don't know what you do about that thing. It just didn't go well."

After Colorado added an insurance run in the eighth, the Brewers threatened in the bottom half when Jonathan Lucroy reached second on a throwing error by Reid Brignac but he was doubled off when Alex Gonzalez hit a sharp fly to right. Milwaukee had two on in the eighth, but three Colorado pitchers, including Rafael Betancourt, who notched his first save of the year by getting Weeks to ground out, closed the door.

NOTES: Yorvit Torrealba started at catcher for Colorado, a move Weiss said was a "good match" with starter De La Rosa but was not ready to commit to Torrealba as the left-hander's "personal catcher." ... Braun's third-inning home run was the 203rd of his career. He needs five to tie Gorman Thomas for fourth place on the Brewers' all-time list. ... Since the 2007 season, Tulowitzki has hit more home runs (131) and has a higher slugging percentage than any shortstop in baseball.
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