Off to a strong start after missing most of 2012 with a groin injury, Tulowitzki looks to help the Rockies to a series victory over the Brewers on Wednesday night at Miller Park.
Tulowitzki played 47 games in 2012 and missed the last four months of the season with an injury that required surgery. Through two games in 2013, he is 3 for 9 with a homer in each contest and four RBIs for Colorado (1-1), which won 8-4 at Milwaukee on Tuesday."It's great to have him out there," said teammate Carlos Gonzalez , who is 4 for 10 with three RBIs and also homered in each of the first two games. "Any team would want him on their side. He is one of those players that can win games all by himself."
Tulowitzki is 9 for 22 (.409) with three homers and seven RBIs in his last five games at Miller Park. His .397 lifetime average against the Brewers is his highest against any NL club.
First-year manager and former Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss understands that Tulowitzki and Gonzalez together might be the key to Colorado's chances this season."Tulowitzki looks great," Weiss said. "Having him and Carlos in the three and four hole is very nice. Those two guys are going to have to be the ones if we are going to make a push this year."
Peralta went 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA and struck out 22 while not yielding a home run over 28 innings in five September starts last season. Manager Ron Roenicke hopes to see the swagger the right-hander showed during his brief time in the majors but lost at times while going 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five spring training appearances.
"Peralta has a huge upside," Roenicke told the Brewers' official website during spring training. "If he pitches like he did a few of those games last year, he's got a huge upside."
Weiss hands the ball to Juan Nicasio , who went 2-3 with a 5.28 ERA in 11 starts in 2012 before a strained left knee ended his season in early June. The right-hander made 13 starts in 2011 before he suffered a broken neck after taking a line drive off the head in August.
"I want to pitch the whole season, not get hurt anymore," Nicasio said. "My body, my shoulder, my elbow - everything is ready."
In his only appearance versus Milwaukee, Nicasio allowed four hits without a walk in seven innings of a 4-0 home win July 15, 2011.
Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in the third inning Tuesday that gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead, but Gonzalez tied it with a two-run shot in fifth. Braun is 2 for 8 with three RBIs and three strikeouts, and hitless with a strikeout in three career at-bats against Nicasio.
|February 14, 2013||Edwar Cabrera||60-Day DL||Left shoulder impingement|
|March 25, 2013||Mark Rogers||15-Day DL||Right shoulder instability|
|March 22, 2013||Taylor Green||15-Day DL||Left hip labral injury|
|March 22, 2013||Corey Hart||15-Day DL||Recovery from right knee surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Jeff Bianchi||15-Day DL||Left hip bursitis|
|March 20, 2013||Mat Gamel||60-Day DL||Torn right ACL - out for season|
|February 18, 2013||Mat Gamel||Day-to-Day||Torn right ACL - out for season|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Juan Nicasio got Walt Weiss and the Colorado Rockies off to a winning start.
Nicasio pitched six effective innings for his first victory in almost a year, and Wilin Rosario , Michael Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler homered to lift the Rockies over the Milwaukee Brewers 7-3 on Wednesday night.
The Rockies took two of three under Weiss, their new manager, in the season-opening series at Miller Park.
"Get good starting pitching and it tends to fall into place for you," Weiss said. "We were able to do something. If we can get starting pitching like that consistently, we're going to be in real good shape - particularly with our offense."
Nicasio (1-0) did his part using his fastball.
He allowed two runs and seven hits for his first win since last April 30, when he beat the Los Angeles Dodgers . Winless in the next five starts, he suffered a season-ending knee injury on June 2.
"I threw my fastball inside, away, and nobody can hit my fastball," Nicasio said. "The hitter needs to show me he can hit my fastball inside. If he does, OK, I'm going to throw my breaking ball. But if nobody can hit it, I'm going to throw it."
Weiss said that Nicasio had it all working against the Brewers.
"He's firing strikes. He's got a great arm," Weiss said. "When he's in good counts, he's going to be tough to get to.
Wily Peralta (0-1) gave up four runs, including Rosario's two-run homer. Cuddyer hit a two-run homer and Fowler hit a solo homer in the ninth off John Axford .
Weiss had a hunch coming out of spring training that his team could hit.
"I felt all spring that this is going to be a good offensive club," he said. "It's only three games, and you have to be careful, but we're a good offensive club and have a lot of good players."
Twelve of the Rockies' 19 runs scored in the three-game series came off eight home runs.
Rickie Weeks hit a solo home run and Alex Gonzalez added an RBI single off Nicasio. Ryan Braun drove in a run off Chris Volstad , but that was it. Rex Brother and Rafael Betancourt kept the Brewers scoreless the rest of the way.
Weiss liked what the four pitchers did in the game.
"And it was a big effort for us," he said. "Our bullpen was a bit short for us tonight. Juan was big. Volstad was huge. Brothers was huge. Great team win."
Rosario picked up right where 2012 ended for him when he hit a two-run homer in the second. The young catcher led all NL rookies with 28 home runs and 71 RBIs last season, which were also franchise rookie records.
Rosario's nice defensive play saved Nicasio from further trouble in the third.
Weeks hit his first home run of the season. Braun singled, took third on Aramis Ramirez 's double and scored on Alex Gonzalez 's line-drive single. Ramirez rounded third as left fielder Carlos Gonzalez charged the ball, picked it cleanly and fired a strike to Rosario, who took the offline throw, dived at Ramirez as he slid home and tagged him.
The last two seasons have been tough on Nicasio. On Aug. 5, 2011, he was hit in the head by a line drive and needed season-ending surgery to repair vertebrae in his neck. In 2012, he made his first appearance on the opening day roster and was 2-3 with a 5.28 ERA before getting hurt.
"This is a great win for him," Weiss said. "I'm proud of him. All the stuff he's been through, this has to be a great feeling for him."
Peralta, who made the opening-day roster after a decent spring, went 5 1/3 innings, allowed six hits, walked three and struck out four.
"He's got great stuff, but he's got to learn to get it over the plate," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Roenicke said that the team was battling, but it just wasn't enough.
"We scratch out some runs, then turn around and give them up in a hurry," he said. "That's hard to keep up the pressure on the other guys when they keep coming back and scoring runs."
Volstad took over for Nicasio and allowed a two-out double to Weeks, who scored on Braun's double in the seventh.
Cuddyer came on as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and stayed in the game in right.
In the sixth, center fielder Carlos Gomez robbed Gonzalez of homering in his third straight game. Gomez tracked the ball to the outfield padding and then jumped, snagging the ball well above the top of the wall.
Brewers first baseman Gonzalez left the game in a double switch in the sixth. Yuniesky Betancourt made his first career appearance at first and Alfredo Figaro replaced Peralta.
NOTES: LHP Jeff Francis starts against San Diego in the Rockies' home opener Friday. Colorado's last home-opener win came April 9, 2009, against the Padres. ... RHP Kyle Lohse makes his Milwaukee debut when the Brewers face the Diamondbacks on Friday. He went 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA against Arizona last season. ... Weiss gave Todd Helton and Cuddyer the day off and started Eric Young Jr. in right and Jordan Pacheco at first. Weiss said the move was simply to get them some playing time. ... The Rockies will work out Thursday afternoon at Coors Field. The public gets in free with the donation of canned food item. Otherwise, it's $1.