The Milwaukee Brewers celebrated the last time they came to Denver as the 2018 season came to a close, popping plenty of beverages after sweeping the Colorado Rockies out of the National League Division Series. It’s something that the Rockies haven’t forgotten.
Flash forward almost a full year and the Brewers came to town on Friday night ready to close in on another celebration, once again expected to happen in the visiting clubhouse of Coors Field. The Colorado Rockies, however, put any kind of joyful feelings on the Milwaukee side of the stadium on hold thanks to an offensive outburst against the Brewers bullpen.
Held to just two hits through five innings by Milwaukee starter Zach Davies, Colorado exploded in the sixth inning for seven runs against three Brewer relievers to take Game 1 of the three-game series, 11-7. The outburst snapped Milwaukee’s seven-game winning streak was just their fifth loss of September.
The loss, however, did little to change the look at the top of the NL Central. Combined with Chicago’s win in St. Louis, the Cardinals will stay one game ahead of Milwaukee with two games to play.
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Your heroes of the fateful sixth inning were plentiful. Charlie Blackmon started the frame off with a solo shot off reliever Ray Black to knot the game at 2-2. That would be the first of four consecutive batters to reach base safely, with Daniel Murphy‘s RBI single giving Colorado its first lead of the night.
Later in the decisive inning, Raimel Tapia came off the bench and took the first pitch he saw from Milwaukee’s Jay Jackson over the scoreboard in right field for his second career pinch-hit grand slam. The 25-year-old outfielder is the first player in Rockies history to have two pinch-hit grand slams to his credit.
Speaking of credit, Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela deserves some after walking the tightrope but never letting Milwaukee explode for a big inning during his six innings of work. The right-hander surrendered seven hits, walked two and never recorded a clean inning. He did, however, make pitches when needed to work out of jams, benefitting from a double play and striking out six.
Ryan McMahon added on with a two-run shot off Milwaukee’s Jake Faria in the seventh, making Colorado’s bombing of the Brewers bullpen even more interesting (and likely adding more than a few “Coors” comments coming from the Upper Midwest as well).
McMahon’s 24th home run of the season established a new single-season franchise record for a primary second baseman (meaning a minimum of 75 percent of games played at the position). The previous record was held by Clint Barmes, who posted 23 home runs in 2009.
Colorado’s win on Friday won’t keep Milwaukee out of the playoffs and it won’t end the Brewers’ season. It will, however, make it a little harder for the Brewers to capture the National League Central title. That would mean a possible Wild Card Game appearance and, with a win, a matchup against the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers. It may also be another step toward a Game 163 between St. Louis and Milwaukee.
Judging by some comments made by Trevor Story earlier in the day, Colorado hasn’t forgotten last October. It may have taken 11 months, but just a little bit of the sting from that NLDS sweep went away on Friday night.