MILWAUKEE (AP) – Rockies manager Bud Black exchanged high-fives with his players as they streamed off the field and stopped Greg Holland for a few extra seconds to offer encouraging words and a pat on the back.
It was quite the successful Colorado debut for Black and the team’s new closer.
Holland picked up a save for the first time since coming back from Tommy John surgery, Mark Reynolds homered and had three RBIs, and the Rockies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-5 in Monday’s opener.
Black’s 650th win as a major league manager was his first with the Rockies.
“We checked off a lot of boxes in that baby. That was a little bit of everything,” said Black, who also spent eight-plus seasons managing San Diego.
Holland got Ryan Braun to bounce into a game-ending, 5-4-3 double play that started after third baseman Nolan Arenado dove to his left and threw to second while on his right knee. The out at first was confirmed on a video review, giving Holland his first save since Sept. 17, 2015, for Kansas City against Cleveland.
His previous major league appearance was the following day against Detroit. The right-hander missed the 2016 season because of the elbow injury.
“This guy is a two-time All-Star. This guy is pitched in the postseason. And he’s healthy,” Black said. “We’ll continue to watch all relievers but it was good to see Greg get a save.”
The Brewers lost a key pitcher when Junior Guerra left his first opening-day start in the big leagues after three innings with a strained right calf. He grimaced as he broke out of the batter’s box after laying down a bunt.
Manager Craig Counsell said that Guerra will go on the disabled list, with more tests due on Tuesday. It was the first time Guerra could recall every hurting a leg.
“That’s why I turned around and look at the catcher because I thought maybe he hit me, because it just felt like I got hit,” Guerra said.
Tony Wolters scored from third with two outs in the seventh to give Colorado a 6-5 lead after Jett Bandy threw to second trying to catch Charlie Blackmon stealing. The ball short-hopped second baseman Jonathan Villar and trickled away on the infield dirt, allowing Wolters to go home.
Manager Craig Counsell said the Brewers missed a sign on the play.
Reliever Jhan Marinez (0-1) took the loss after having allowed Wolters to reach on a single. Carlos Estevez (1-0) pitched a hitless sixth.
Colorado added two more runs in the fourth before the Brewers rallied for five in the fifth behind new acquisitions Eric Thames and Travis Shaw, who each had RBI doubles. The left-handed hitters were brought in this offseason by general manager David Stearns to balance what had been a predominantly right-handed lineup.
“We put together a great inning in the fifth but there were some defensive plays we could have made and we had some at-bats where contact would have helped us,” Counsell said.
Pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista added an RBI double in the eighth off Jared Hughes, who signed with the Brewers on Monday. Hughes’ deal calls for a $950,000 salary in the majors and $150,000 in the minors. He can earn $250,000 in performance bonuses based on games pitched: $25,000 each for 50 and 55, $50,000 apiece for 60 and 65 and $100,000 for 70.
Rockies: OF David Dahl (rib) and IF Ian Desmond (left hand) were among six players placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday, retroactive to March 30. The other players were: RHPs Jairo Diaz (elbow) and Chad Qualls (forearm), LHP Chris Rusin (oblique) and C Tom Murphy (right forearm).
Brewers: Minor league C Rene Garcia is out of a hospital and after sustaining a concussion in a play at the plate during Saturday’s exhibition against the Chicago White Sox. General manager David Stearns said Garcia was doing well.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (5-6, 3.54 ERA in 2016) makes his debut after compiling a 4.08 ERA in six spring training starts. Anderson had a career-high 10 strikeouts in his only start against the Brewers, on Aug. 24.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies made his first opening-day roster after a solid 2016. Davies went 11-7 with a 3.98 ERA in 28 starts last year, his first full season in the majors.
– By GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer
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