DENVER (AP) -- For two games and seven innings, it looked as if
the Milwaukee Brewers were going to get out of Coors Field with
three relatively easy wins.
Manager Ned Yost knew better.
Milwaukee nearly blew a six-run lead in the eighth before
holding on for its fifth straight victory, 10-9 over the Colorado
Rockies on Thursday.
"You can get a six, seven-run lead in this park and there's no
lead that's safe," Yost said. "Today was a good example of it."
Without a doubt.
The Brewers led 10-4 heading into the eighth inning behind a
four-run fourth and six solid innings from Victor Santos, but the
Rockies came charging back.
Aaron Miles followed with a two-run single off Luis Vizcaino,
and Todd Helton made it 10-9 with a sacrifice fly after
pinch-hitter Royce Clayton struck out. Preston Wilson got the fans
to their feet with a hard-hit ball to right-center, but it was
caught on the warning track within a few feet of where Helton's
ball came down.
Danny Kolb pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 25 chances,
retiring Johnson with a runner on third to end it.
"I took a deep breath with each swing in the eighth and
ninth," Overbay said.
Ben Grieve was 4-for-5 and Santos (7-3) allowed four runs and
nine hits, giving Milwaukee its first sweep in Denver and second
overall against the Rockies.
"We had a chance to win earlier in the year and we weren't
finding ways to win," Overbay said. "Now we are doing that."
The Rockies aren't.
Colorado has lost five straight and seven of 10, dropping 21
games below .500 for the first time since Aug. 8, 2001 (46-67).
"We're finding different ways to (lose)," Clayton said. "It's
getting real old."
The Rockies certainly can't blame the offense.
Helton homered for the second straight game and had three RBI.
Miles, Holliday and Johnson each drove in two runs. Colorado also
matched the Brewers with 14 hits.
None of it was enough to overcome another horrible start by
Denny Stark (0-3).
The right-hander, called up Thursday after two months at
Triple-A Colorado Springs, retired the side in the first inning
before giving up a run in the second on Bennett's groundout. Stark
then allowed three more runs in the third on Geoff Jenkins' single
and Overbay's two-run double off the wall in left-center.
And it didn't get any better for him in the fourth inning.
Stark was touched for two more runs when center fielder Wilson
was charged with an error after misjudging Jenkins' fly against the
wall, then gave up another run on a wild pitch. Stark was lifted
after Helms made it 8-1 with a run-scoring single.
Stark walked off the field to a chorus of boos after giving up
eight runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in just 3 2-3 innings.
"I was pretty amped up there today and I think it showed,"
said Stark, who was optioned to Triple-A in April after giving up
15 earned runs his first two starts. "I just felt like I was
overthrowing all day."
He didn't allow a hit until Holliday lined a single leading off
the third inning, then gave up a run-scoring double to Johnson.
Helton hit Santos' first pitch of the fourth inning into the
second deck in right for his 15th homer and followed with a
run-scoring single in the fifth, but that only cut Milwaukee's lead
"This was a quality outing for me," said Santos, who had no
walks. "You walk out of Coors Field (with a win) on a day when the
ball is flying out like crazy, I have to think I did pretty
Brewers CF Scott Podsednik was a last-minute scratch from
the lineup because of the flu. ... Walker didn't start one day
after getting hit No. 2,000. ... Milwaukee starts a stretch of 29
games against its own division Friday with a doubleheader against
Pittsburgh. ... Milwaukee's Junior Spivey struck out seven times in
the three-game series, including twice Thursday.