MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Colorado Rockies are learning to love life on the road under new manager Jim Tracy.
Aaron Cook pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and closer Huston Street shook off a ninth-inning home run by Ryan Braun to earn his fourth save in as many games, lifting the Rockies to a 5-4 victory and three-game sweep over Milwaukee on Thursday.
That’s eight straight wins, all on the road, for the Rockies, who completed a four-game sweep of St. Louis earlier this week — shredding two of the NL Central’s best over seven days.
“I think we should just go straight to Seattle,” Cook said.
Instead, the Rockies will face the Mariners at home, where they’re 9-14 this season.
“Now we have to take this home with us to our fans and get our house in order,” Tracy said. “Because we’re a much better team at home than 9-14.”
Colorado is 10-4 under Tracy, who took over for the fired Clint Hurdle on May 29.
But it’s not like the Rockies were completely adversity-free Thursday: Catcher Paul Phillips nearly got run over by the Miller Park “Racing Sausage” mascots as he walked out of the dugout.
And Phillips got booed for it!
“I said, ‘Jeez, tough crowd,'” said Phillips, whose two-run single in the eighth proved to be the difference for the Rockies. “They were more into the sausage race, obviously, than they were the game.”
Oh, and Braun’s three-run homer off Street in the ninth did add some drama.
With the Rockies leading 5-1, Randy Flores allowed a pair of runners to reach base with one out. Tracy brought in Street, who struck out Mike Rivera before giving up Braun’s homer.
Street, who saved the Rockies’ previous three games, then walked Prince Fielder before striking out Mat Gamel to earn his 12th save of the season and fourth in four games. Street was the Rockies’ sixth reliever of the day.
“We taxed ourselves a little bit today, obviously,” Tracy said. “We took it to the limit a couple of times. But once again, we made some huge pitches when we had to.”
Milwaukee’s typically potent offense scored only four runs in the first two games of the series and couldn’t manage anything against starter Cook (5-3) until the seventh.
“That team’s playing really well,” Braun said. “And it’s a weird game: It seems like when you’re playing really well you get all the breaks, and when you’re not going well like we are now, you just find a way to come up on the short end of games like this.”
The Brewers took some solace in the fact that they at least had several scoring chances. That wasn’t the case in the first two games of the series, when the Brewers managed a total of only four runs and struggled to get runners on base.
“You’ve got to try to take all the positives you can from a game like this, a series like this,” Braun said.
With the Rockies ahead 3-0 in the seventh, Cook gave up a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Tracy then used three relievers to limit the damage: Matt Daley gave up a sacrifice fly to Corey Hart, Alan Embree got Craig Counsell to line out to right, and Joel Peralta walked Mike Cameron to bring up Braun with the bases loaded and two outs.
After falling behind 1-2, Peralta got Braun to chase a 79 mph slider — then struck him out on a 93 mph fastball.
Cook ended Brewers scoring threats with strikeouts in the previous two innings, getting Bill Hall in fifth and Gamel in the sixth.
Brewers manager Ken Macha saw the Brewers’ scoring chances as a sign of progress, even if they didn’t cash in.
“It’s the job of myself and the coaching staff to continue to stay positive,” Macha said. “I think the comeback in the ninth inning is going to help.”
Yovani Gallardo (6-3) gave up only two runs but struggled with his control, throwing 105 pitches over five innings and walking four.
NOTES: First-base umpire Jerry Crawford left the game after the second inning after becoming ill. … Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said the hearing for Cameron’s appeal of his two-game suspension for making contact with an umpire has yet to be scheduled. … The Rockies selected Tracy’s son, Mark, a catcher at Duquesne University, in the 49th round of the first-year player draft. “We didn’t ask for any favors, but I’m proud of him,” Jim Tracy said.