The Colorado Rockies looked well on their way to another easy opening day win in Milwaukee after jumping out to a 4-0 lead through 5 innings. However, a rocky 5th inning allowed the Brewers to retake the lead and forced Jon Gray out of the game. It was the rebuilt bullpen that the Rockies relied on to help propel them to their first victory of 2017, as they didn’t allow a run the remainder of the game.
Mark Reynolds opened up the scoring in the 2nd with a 2-run home run to left field on a pitch outside of the zone to put Colorado up 2-0. As Gray was dealing in the early innings striking out six batter through the first three frames, the Rockies took advantage of an early exit by Milwaukee Brewer’s starter Junior Guerra. After attempting a bunt in the third, Guerra pulled up limping and was diagnosed with a strained right calf and was taken out of the game. This opened the door in the top of the fourth as Nolan Arenado led off the inning with a bloop single followed by a Trevor Story double and Gerardo Parra single to make the score 3-0. Reynolds then got his 3rd RBI of the game on a hustle single to push the lead to four runs.
Then in the fifth inning the wheels came off and the lead disappeared. Gray gave up a walk and four straight hits with a bobbled ball in center field leading to the 5 run fifth inning. Gray exited with a final line of 4 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks and 7 K’s. he was spotless throughout until the bottom of the fifth and gave way to the bullpen, one that was revamped in the offseason, in order to limit the damage. The new bullpen did just that, helping the Rockies win this crucial first game.
Carlos Estevez came onto pitch a scoreless frame in the sixth and ended up earning the victory in the game. With the Brewers leading 5-4, Charlie Blackmon made a spectacular scone grab in center while crashing into the wall that saved extra bases and preserved the lead at one run. Colorado took advantage of the play in the top of the seventh to nab the lead, but it didn’t come easy. After a leadoff single by Parra, Reynolds drilled a ball down the left field line but a perfect relay throw by Ryan Braun and Arcia nabbed Parra at the plate.With runners at the corners and one out Blackmon grounded into what should have been an inning ending double play but Jonathan Villar bobbled the transfer at second allowing the run to score and tying up the game. The next pitch Blackmon stole second but an errant throw allowed Tony Wolters to score from third and Colorado regained the lead. Those was all the runs they would need to hang onto win.
It didn’t come without some stressful situations in the bottom of the eighth, however. Adam Ottavino walked the first two batters he faced and after a double steal had two runners in scoring position with nobody out. The Italian stalion came back to strike out three straight and end the threat to keep the lead. The Rockies added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a Alexi Amarista bloop single and new closer Greg Holland shut it down in the final frame to secure the win 7-5.
The Rockies finished with seven runs on 10 hits and no errors, even though the top three in the lineup went a combined 0-13 on the day. The Brewers finished with five runs on 6 hits and one error, while having nine men on their roster for their first opening day.
It’s just one win but it was a good start even if the game wasn’t played as cleanly as they had hoped but wither way the Bud Black era in Denver is off to a great start and a winning record.