Brewers utilize solid at-bats, crisp defense to beat Rockies
“I like watching this team when I’m not pitching, so I can imagine as a Milwaukee Brewer fan and somebody from this area, it’s got to be exciting to come to the park every day,” Wolf said after his successful debut in Milwaukee’s 7-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. “Obviously, I’ve got to pitch better than that. I can’t rely on guys scoring five, six, seven runs a game.”
Casey McGehee hit a three-run homer in the first, Rickie Weeks added a solo shot off Rockies starter Greg Smith (0-1) and Prince Fielder was on base all four at-bats, scoring three times and driving in another run.
“They keep it light,” Wolf said. “It’s fun just because the guys battle, they enjoy each other, they know each other real well here.”
Milwaukee snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Rockies despite Ian Stewart, who homered for the second straight day, doubled, tripled and scored three times.
Wolf (1-0) struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings in his first start since signing a $29.75 million, three-year contract in the offseason to bolster Milwaukee’s starting staff.
Wolf received raucous cheers each time he struck out a batter, a sharp difference from last year, when most Milwaukee fans were howling in disgust at a rotation that compiled a majors-worst 5.37 ERA.
“That’s why we got him here. He did a nice job tonight. A strike-throwing machine—97 pitches, 72 strikes,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “That’s pretty impressive.”
Wolf left with two on and two outs in the seventh.
Reliever Mitch Stetter retired Todd Helton on a popup to end the threat and LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect eighth, but Trevor Hoffman ran into trouble on the way to his 592nd career save.
After Milwaukee scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, Hoffman allowed a leadoff triple to Ian Stewart, who scored on Seth Smith’s groundout. Carlos Gonzalez hit a flare single with two outs to bring up the tying run in pinch-hitter Jason Giambi, who struck out.
Stewart, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday and got his wish when Duke won the national championship, hit a deep home run over the Brewers bullpen in left-center field in the second inning.
“I feel good. I’m seeing the ball well. That’s all I can really say,” Stewart said.
But it was the Brewers who had to feel good about themselves, with Fielder providing the moment of levity.
In the fourth, Fielder and McGehee were at the corners with no outs when Gregg Zaun hit into a double play.
Fielder should have scored easily, but he tripped, struggled to regain his balance and held onto his helmet awkwardly as he got back on his feet to sprint home. He was laughing at his mad dash before he even got back to the dugout.
“Even in the heat of the moment we can find some humor in some of the stuff going on,” McGehee said.
“Sometimes I think we fall into the trap of beating ourselves up over little stuff too much, and you’ve got to have fun while you’re doing it.”
Greg Smith worked five innings in his first start in the majors since 2008 in place of Jeff Francis (shoulder).
“I was a little amped up,” he said. “I just missed spots. It’s not like I got beat up by them, it’s not like they hit pitch after pitch after pitch. They hit my mistakes.”
Last updated: 1:40 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012