Offense breaks out against Brewers' Fiers

Offense breaks out against Brewers' Fiers

Offense breaks out against Brewers' Fiers
DENVER -- A Rockies team that was barely recognizable at home this year took on an identity that fans at Coors Field can get used to on Monday night.

Pounding Brewers rookie pitching sensation Mike Fiers for eight runs and nine hits in slightly more than two innings, the Rockies opened a seven-game homestand with a 9-6 victory in front of 26,821.

Traditionally a big winner in a park that plays to their offense, the Rockies went 1-8 on their last homestand and even with the victory are 22-37 at Coors. Nights like Monday, with DJ LeMahieu -- who had a career-best four-hit game -- and Eric Young Jr. continuing to make the most of starting opportunities and pitcher Jeff Francis (4-4) shaking off a slump, were commonplace in the past.

The Rockies (42-71) are on a mini upswing late in a difficult season. They returned home after going 3-3 against the Dodgers and Giants -- the two top teams in the National League West. It was just their second non-losing road trip of the season and their first since late April.

"It's just nice to see us play baseball, but I really don't think you can make a whole lot of argument about what has gone on here offensively throughout the course of the year," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "I don't think the record is totally indicative of what we've done offensively.

"If you go around the field, considering the fact that there are some significant people that are still not participating [shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer and first baseman Todd Helton are on the disabled list], and you start asking yourself the question about the improvement of young people on this ballclub, passing grades for all of them."

Fiers (6-5) saw his ERA balloon from 1.80 to 2.63.

Young doubled to open the bottom of the first, Jonathan Herrera singled him home and Dexter Fowler doubled. Carlos Gonzalez and Wilin Rosario added run-scoring outs for a 3-0 lead. Chris Nelson doubled to open the second and scored on Young's grounder three batters later. In the third, Fowler, Gonzalez and Rosario, and Tyler Colvin doubled to drive Fiers from the mound.

"Those games are going to happen," Fiers said. "I just have to put it behind me and get ready for my next start. Obviously, it wasn't anything close to a quality start, so I'm not happy about it. But there's nothing I can do about it now."

LeMahieu, whose opportunity to play second opened after Marco Scutaro was traded to the Giants, is hitting .302 overall, and .383 in 18 games since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

"I felt like I was in a zone, and I got a little lucky -- a little bit of both," LeMahieu said.

Young, who began the year as an effective pinch-hitter but is making regular outfield starts because of various injuries, went 2-for-5 and lifted his season batting average to .309.

Fowler, Colvin and Nelson added two hits apiece.

Francis had gone 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in his previous three starts. His last start wasn't that bad, but he gave up an early three-run homer to the Dodgers' Matt Kemp and was pulled after four innings under the Rockies' tightened pitch count that goes with their four-man rotation.

"It was big for us as a team to come out, put a zero up early and get some runs," Francis said. "I don't think we've done that a lot, even in the games we won."

This time, Francis earned his five innings. He didn't give up a run until the fourth and left after Carlos Gomez's two-run homer in the sixth. Francis went 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits.

"Their lefty [Francis] had us baffled. Good off-speed stuff, the cutter was nice [and] in on the hands," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He had us baffled."

Adam Ottavino threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings, which he finished by reaching behind his back to grab Jonathan Lucroy's hard one-hopper, and throwing him out at first base.

"I have other sorts of tricks that I practice, but not that," Ottavino said. "That was a 'look what I found' moment."

Will Harris pitched the ninth in his Major League debut, allowing three runs on Rickie Weeks' two-out homer before striking out Ryan Braun to end the game.

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