Arenado, Reynolds homer, Rockies beat Brewers 2-1
MILWAUKEE — Nolan Arenado needed a few games to get warmed up after tying for the National League home run title last season with 41.
Arenado led off the ninth inning with his first homer of the season to give the Colorado Rockies the lead in a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
“I’m just grinding to get comfortable,” Arenado said. “I was just trying to shorten up and put the ball in play with two strikes and (Neftali Feliz) threw one middle-in and I put a good swing on it. I didn’t crush it, but I hit it good enough.
Rockies manager Bud Black said power hitters can get tense early in the season looking for their home run swing.
“For Nolan getting the first homer, it is a good sign,” Black said.
Mark Reynolds also homered and Antonio Senzatela pitched five strong innings in his major league debut. Former Brewer Reynolds led off the third against starter Chase Anderson with his second home run of the season.
The Rockies won three of four games in the season-opening series.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis tied it in the seventh with a solo homer off reliever Adam Ottavino.
Senzatela pitched five shutout innings, gave up two hits, had six strikeouts and three walks. He spent last season with Double-A Hartford and was winless in five spring training starts this year.
Senzatela gave up two hits and a walk in the first, but escape by inducing an inning-ending double play.
“I thought that let him exhale a little bit,” Black said.
Mike Dunn (1-0) picked up the win with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Greg Holland finished for his third save in three chances.
Anderson pitched effectively in his first start of the season. He allowed one run and three hits over six innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Rockies: Dustin Garneau started catcher after Tony Wolters worked the first three games.
Brewers: OF Keon Broxton sustained what Counsell referred to as a small nasal fracture after being struck in the helmet with 92 mph fastball from Senzatela in the second inning. The ball struck a protective flap on Broxton’s helmet and pushed the flap into his nose. Counsell said Broxton is day-to-day and unlikely to go on the disable list. “That flap, man, that thing just saved my life,” Broxton said. “The crazy thing about it is I was thinking about taking it off a couple days ago, too, and then this happens. I’m never taking that thing off. It just felt like I got punched by Mike Tyson. But other than that I feel good.”… OF Ryan Braun didn’t start as part of a plan to give him routine rest during the season. Braun pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth and flew out to right.
The Brewers announced after the game that RHP Taylor Jungmann had been optioned to Double-A Biloxi.
CHANGE OF GLOVES
Eric Thames, signed by the Brewers in the offseason to be their regular first baseman, started in left field. Jesus Aguilar, who had three hits in four at-bats entering the game, got the start at first. “The fact (Thames) played outfield a little bit for us (in spring training) is a very valuable thing, especially on a day like today when Braun is not in the lineup,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “It strengthens our lineup.”
When Black informed Senzatela that he’d be making his first major league start, emotions flowed. “He’s a guy who, at that moment, wore his emotions on his sleeve,” Black said. “He started tearing up. It was wonderful. We gave each other a big guy hug.”
Rockies: Kyle Freeland will make his major league debut Friday in Colorado’s home opener against Los Angeles. The Denver native, who started 2016 at Double-A Hartford before being promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque last June, went 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA in spring training.
Brewers: Jimmy Nelson makes his first start of the season on Friday as Milwaukee opens a three-game series at home against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. Nelson was 8-16 with a 4.62 ERA in a career-high 32 starts last season.
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