Brewers-Rockies Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 13, 2012
Mike Fiers has been a bright spot for the Milwaukee Brewers, who hope to see him in the discussion for some postseason honors. Fiers, who took a perfect game into the seventh inning of his last start, will make his first appearance at Coors Field on Monday night when the Brewers visit the Colorado Rockies. Milwaukee (52-61) snapped an 11-game road losing streak with a 5-3 win over last-place Houston on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep as Yovani Gallardo pitched into the eighth and was backed by a homer from Corey Hart. The Brewers finally got a save from their beleaguered bullpen as Kameron Loe - the third pitcher in this series to work the ninth - secured the win. John Axford blew his eighth save Friday and Jim Henderson pitched a scoreless ninth Saturday before losing in the 10th. "It keeps us on our toes right now,'' Loe said. "I think there's been a learning process this year for a number of guys, myself included, and you've just got to accept the challenges that come along and take it with a smile." While Milwaukee's bullpen has been shaky with a league-leading 22 blown saves, the Brewers have a lot of confidence in Fiers (6-4, 1.80 ERA). The rookie right-hander has won his last three starts. He gave up one run and three hits in eight innings of a 3-1 victory over Cincinnati last Tuesday, retiring the first 18 batters he faced. "He pitched an outstanding ball game,'' manager Ron Roenicke said. "Absolutely, he has to be put in that conversation (for Rookie of the Year). He's been baffling hitters. And not just average hitters, he's been doing it against some very strong lineups." The right-hander will try to help the Brewers earn their third straight win at Coors Field. Before those two victories, Milwaukee had lost 15 of 18 in Colorado. The Rockies (41-71) are back home after losing the final two games of their three-game series against San Francisco. They endured their own bullpen issues in a 9-6 loss Sunday, giving up five runs in the eighth. "We did everything we could to try and win that game," manager Jim Tracy said. "We played with heart and we played with energy." Colorado plays its next seven at home, where it has lost three straight and 10 of 11. Its starters are 0-8 with an 8.66 ERA over those 11 games. Jeff Francis (3-4, 6.06) will try to end the skid and his struggles Monday. Francis is 1-2 with an 8.34 ERA over his last five starts, giving up seven home runs in 22 2-3 innings. The left-hander gave up four hits, including a three-run homer in the first, over four innings of a 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. "I'm happy with my preparation, but my execution at times has been pretty bad and has cost me,'' Francis said. Francis is 2-3 with a 7.09 ERA in six starts against the Brewers, but hasn't faced them since 2010. Colorado won two of three in Milwaukee in April.
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