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Brewers fall to Rockies 12-3

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Associated Press
July 15, 2011
— Hard times on the road have been the norm for the Milwaukee Brewers this season.

A few days off for the All-Star break did nothing to change things as the Colorado Rockies pounded the Brewers 12-3 on Thursday night in the opener of a season-long 11-game road trip.


"We didn't pitch well. We didn't play good defense, either. We didn't do anything right today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said after Yovani Gallardo (10-6) and four relievers combined to allow 20 hits, a season-high for the Rockies.


The lopsided loss left the Brewers with a major-league worst 16-30 record on the road. The Brewers have lost 11 of their past 14 road games.


Asked if there was any explanation for his team's performance away from Miller Park, Roenicke tersely said, "No, we haven't played well on the road."


Gallardo lasted four innings and gave up a season-high 11 hits and six runs, four coming when the Rockies batted around in the fourth and scored four runs to take a 6-2 lead.


"I know Yo made some good pitches that they hit," Roenicke said. "But his location was off. His breaking ball was up in the zone."


Gallardo remained winless against the Rockies in his career. He's 0-4 with a 6.69 ERA against them in seven games, including six starts, and 0-2 with a 10.07 ERA in four career starts at Coors Field.


"Just command, just leaving it up in the zone," Gallardo said when asked the cause of his troubles. "I left the ball up and wasn't able to put away guys when I needed to. The fourth inning when they scored the four runs, I made some pretty good pitches and (there were some) base hits off the end of the bat. There's not much you can do about that."


The beneficiary of the big fourth was Ubaldo Jimenez (5-8). He pitched a complete game two-hitter and lost 3-1 at Milwaukee on May 22 but won for the fourth time in six starts as he allowed six hits and two runs in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts.


"He's still got a good fastball, but his offspeed stuff he throws anytime he wants to," Roenicke said. "If it's 2-0, he can throw a slider for a strike. He's got great command with his offspeed stuff and it's good offspeed stuff. It's a really nice slider that he has. Split-finger's real good. He threw some great ones today to get some punchouts."


The teams traded runs in the first two innings. Consecutive two-out doubles on 1-2 pitches by Ryan Braun, who extended his hitting streak to 23 consecutive games, and Prince Fielder gave the Brewers a lead until Ryan Spilborghs, who went 4 for 6 with four RBIs, three runs scored and was a triple shy of the cycle, led off the first with his third homer of the season and first in 115 at-bats since April 20.


Yuniesky Betancourt reached on an infield single and stole second with one in the second as Jonathan Lucroy struck out. Catcher Chris Iannetta never made a throw and stepped away from home plate as if he thought there were two outs. Gallardo followed with a double to right-center. Ty Wigginton led off the second with an infield single and moved to third on two groundouts. Wigginton scored when Jimenez hit a slow grounder into center field.


Gallardo, who had pitched seven innings in each of his past three starts and four of his past five, left after throwing 92 pitches in four innings. Most of the damage came in the fourth, which began with a double by Ian Stewart, who scored on Iannetta's single. After Jimenez's sacrifice, Spilborghs, who tied his career-high with four hits, singled home a run, stole second and scored when Mark Ellis blooped a single into short center field. After Todd Helton took a third strike, Troy Tulowitzki doubled to deep left-center. Just as he did when he doubled to right-center in the first, Tulowitzki, who missed four games last week with right quadriceps tightness, ran easily and didn't risk trying for a triple.


Asked whether the extra rest because of the All-Star break affected him, Gallardo, who last pitched July 6, said, "I don't think so. You can have excuses for everything but I felt fine. That fourth inning, I felt that I made good pitches and they were able to put the bat on the ball and put it in play for some soft base hits."


Notes: Braun had missed the past eight games due to a left calf strain. His 23-game hitting streak is the third-longest in club history. Dave May hit safely in 24 consecutive games in 1973 and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor holds the franchise record, a 39-game streak in 1987. During his streak, Braun is hitting .372 (32 for 86). ... Second base umpire Brian O'Nora limped off the field after the top of the first with what Major League Baseball termed a "back issue." He will be reevaluated over the next 24 hours and is listed as day-to-day. A three-man crew worked the game until Cory Blaser replaced O'Nora at second base in the bottom of the fourth. ... Gallardo's shortest start of the season was three innings June 19 at Boston. He tied his season-low with two strikeouts.



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