Gennett's RBI, Thornburg's four strong not enough vs. Rockies

Braun extends hitting streak in loss

Gennett's RBI, Thornburg's four strong not enough vs. Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Wilin Rosario and Cristhian Adames delivered consecutive RBI hits in the seventh inning as the Rockies pulled away from the Brewers, 5-1, Monday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Rosario entered as a replacement and doubled off the left-field wall against Brewers reliever Neal Cotts, and Adames singled Rosario home as the Rockies broke a 1-1 tie. Tim Wheeler added a two-run homer in the eighth.

Nolan Arenado hit his fourth homer this spring, a solo shot in the first inning against Brewers starter Tyler Thornburg.

Arenado, headed into his third season, is making a bid to become a major run producer.

"I don't think he's looking for more power; you're just seeing a very talented, developing young player," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.

The Rockies also got four scoreless innings from starting righty Jon Gray, the team's top prospect and the No. 17 prospect on the MLB.com rankings. Gray struck out two and gave up two hits and no walks.

Gray is pushing for a slot in the Rockies' rotation, with Jhoulys Chacin having been released and Jorge De La Rosa battling left groin tightness. Gray was in the strike zone, with strikes on 33 of his 44 pitches. He also was helped by his defense, with consecutive strong throws from shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and second baseman Rafael Ynoa in the third inning, and a diving catch in right by Carlos Gonzalez.

"I'm very pleased, but I've got tip my hat to the defense behind me -- they robbed, like, four hits," Gray said. "They were great."

As for the Brewers, Wily Peralta would have thrown under normal circumstances. However, Peralta is lined up to pitch against the Rockies on April 8 in the final game of a three-game set to open the regular season at Miller Park.

Thornburg, a reliever by trade, was able to elevate his pitch count.

"I'm extremely happy with the outing as far as getting my pitch count up, throwing four innings at this point," Thornburg said. "During the second inning I started realizing a couple things that I was doing out there that I shouldn't be doing, then I had three perfect innings after that."

Weiss put Gray in the No. 8 spot in the order, and batted the second baseman Ynoa ninth -- the first time this spring he has moved the pitcher out of the nine-hole. During his playing career, Weiss played for legendary manager Tony La Russa, who at times would hit the pitcher eighth. In the Rockies' lineup Monday, it allowed the power-hitting Gonzalez to hit second with the possibility of a couple runners on base in front of him as the game progressed, although the strategy was no factor in this game.

"It intrigues me enough that I wanted to look at it a few times down here," Weiss said. "I told our guys that I didn't want them to think that I'm screwing with our chances to win, or that I think I'm smarter than the game or smarter than anybody else. We all know that's not the case."

Brewers up next:  The Brewers make their second straight trip to Salt River Fields as they face the Diamondbacks at 8:40 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Michael Blazek will be making his sixth appearance and first start of Spring Training. Blazek threw two hitless innings against Arizona on March 20.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.