DENVER — The Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t have opened a 10-game road trip any better.
Lorenzo Cain homered on the first pitch of the game, Jhoulys Chacin kept his former team in check into the sixth inning and the Brewers beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Thursday night at Coors Field.
Cain lined a fastball from German Marquez to deep center for his second career leadoff homer. The Milwaukee outfielder also accomplished the feat on June 25, 2014, as a member of the Royals.
“It’s a great way to start a game. It gave a lot of energy to the dugout,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
The victory was the 12th in 19 games on the road this season for the Brewers, who at 22-16 are in second place in the NL Central just a half-game behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
“We play good on the road. When we play like this we’re going to win a lot of games,” Brewers’ Hernan Perez said.
Chacin (3-1) cruised along in the place where he kicked off his career, allowing two runs over 5⅓ innings. A member of the Rockies from 2009-14, the pitcher still ranks eighth in Colorado history in wins (38) and seventh in strikeouts (514).
Even more, Chacin improves to 2-1 in four career starts against the Rockies.
“I faced my old friends, pitched here in Coors again — it’s always special for me,” Chacin said. “Happy to be able to pitch OK and give my team a chance to win the ball game.”
Up 5-2 in the sixth, Chacin walked Nolan Arenado with one out. He was replaced by left-hander Boone Logan, another former Rockies pitcher who was making his Brewers debut after starting the season on the disabled list due to a strained triceps. Logan allowed a single to David Dahl before giving way to Matt Albers, who walked Trevor Story to load the bases.
Albers wiggled out of trouble when he got Gerardo Parra to ground into an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play.
“Anytime you’ve got bases loaded with one out and can get out of it without giving up any runs is big,” Counsell said. “He made a heck of a pitch to Parra.”
Albers pitched a clean seventh before All-Star closer Corey Knebel came in for the eighth. Knebel was making his second appearance since coming off the DL after straining his left hamstring earlier in the season.
Jeremy Jeffress struck out the side in the ninth for his third save in four chances.
Counsell said there was nothing to read into Knebel’s early appearance.
“Corey was the right guy for that inning,” said Counsell, noting Knebel faced the heart of the Rockies’ order in DJ LeMahieu, Charlie Blackmon, Arenado and Dahl.
Perez added a two-run single and Travis Shaw collected three hits.
Story sparked Colorado’s lackluster offense by homering on a slider from Chacin in the second. The Rockies left five runners on base a day after going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Marquez (2-4) struggled with his command in allowing five runs over 4º innings.
Once again, the opening frame wasn’t friendly to Marquez. Teams are hitting a combined .389 with three homers in the first over his eight starts.
The Brewers went 2-for-4 to begin the game with two walks as Marquez threw 21 pitches.
Rockies manager Bud Black discussed Marquez’s first-inning struggles before the game, saying his hard-throwing pitcher needed to get “a little bit of a momentum roll, getting guys out early, because it seems to complement how he pitches later in the game.”
Counsell lamented the fact the Brewers, who were 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position, managed just single runs in the first and third innings despite all the damage.
“I love the guys in the bullpen, but a couple more runs early would have been nice,” said Counsell, who in 1995 started his 16-year playing career with the Rockies.
Davies return delayed
Right-hander Zach Davies, who was expected to come off the disabled list today and start against the Rockies, said his shoulder “didn’t feel right” during Wednesday’s bullpen session.
Davies, who was placed on the DL late last month with inflammation in his right rotator cuff, downplayed his setback, though the Brewers announced they have ruled him out for the weekend series.
• Counsell said right-hander Jimmy Nelson continues to throw on flat ground as he works his way back from shoulder surgery in September.
Lopez sent to AAA
When the Brewers reinstated Logan from the DL, they optioned right-hander Jorge Lopez to Class AAA Colorado Springs.
Under “Tomorrow’s Starter” in the team notes, the Brewers had the message: “We just don’t know yet ... sorry.” Counsell later revealed it would be right-hander Brandon Woodruff (1-0, 3.86 ERA) taking the mound. The Rockies will go with right-hander Chad Bettis (4-1, 2.05).