A rough fifth inning for starting pitcher Jon Gray erased an early Rockies lead, but they were able to take advantage of some Milwaukee miscues to pull out a 7-5 win in the season opener.
Gray started the game strong, cruising through the first four innings without giving up a run and striking out seven, but he started the fifth inning by allowing four hits and a walk to the first five batters in the fifth before being pulled by manager Bud Black with just 71 pitches under his belt. The toe injury that hampered Gray near the end of spring training may have flared up for him again after he batted in the top of the inning.
Before the issues in the fifth, the Rockies had built a 4-0 lead. First baseman Mark Reynolds plated the first runs of the season in the second inning with a two-run home run against Brewers starter Junior Guerra.
Guerra left the game in the bottom of the third after straining a calf on a bunt attempt and the Rockies added two more in the top of the fourth when Nolan Arenado singled, Trevor Story doubled and they were brought home on an RBI single from Gerardo Parra and a fielder’s choice by Reynolds, giving Colorado a 4-0 lead.
The five runs against Gray in the fifth gave Milwaukee a 5-4 lead, but the Rockies battled back in the top of the sixth when Reynolds, who had doubled, scored the tying run when Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar failed to complete a double play off the bat of Charlie Blackmon. Tony Wolters then scored the go-ahead run from third when the throw to second on Blackmon’s stolen base attempt was bobbled.
After Adam Ottavino escaped a jam in the eighth, pinch hitter Alexi Amarista doubled to bring in Wolters with an insurance run in the top of the ninth and Greg Holland got his first save as a Rockie thanks in no small part to a spectacular diving stab by Arenado to start a game-ending double play.
The Rockies will look to move to 2-0 tomorrow as Tyler Anderson takes the mound against Kyle Davies.