MILWAUKEE (AP) — Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss is confident that Christian Friedrich has the stuff to be a major league success. Executing pitches is another matter.
Friedrich gave up a leadoff home run to Rickie Weeks and took his second loss in less than a week to the Milwaukee Brewers, who defeated the struggling Rockies 7-4 Thursday night.
“It’s all about consistency and as a pitcher, you have to be able to command your stuff and pitch ahead of hitters,” Weiss said. “He’s got good stuff. He’s got a good fastball and a real good breaking ball. He got a lot of swings and misses tonight.”
Friedrich’s outing got off to a rough start when Weeks knocked his first pitch over the left-field wall. Aramis Ramirez added a two-run shot later in the inning.
“Those are two pitches that weren’t executed,” Friedrich said. “The first pitch of the game, I left it over the plate and (Weeks) got a hold of it and hit it real well. With Aramis, you can’t make a mistake. I should have buried something there or made sure it was out of the zone. It was supposed to be a fastball in, but it didn’t get in enough.”
Weeks had three hits and Wily Peralta (9-5) won his fifth consecutive start for the Brewers, who handed Colorado its ninth defeat in 11 games.
“The first pitch he sees, he just turns on it. A great swing,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Weeks. “He had a good night swinging the bat.”
Peralta allowed three straight singles in the fourth before Ryan Wheeler hit a grand slam that gave the Rockies a 4-3 lead.
“I’ve hit one grand slam in Triple-A, but this trumps it by a long haul,” Wheeler said.
In the fifth, Weeks led off with a double and moved to third on Ryan Braun’s single. Weeks scored on Lucroy’s single off the top of the wall in straightaway center. Drew Stubbs nearly caught the drive, keeping Braun from advancing beyond second base.
A sacrifice fly by Khris Davis put the Brewers ahead 5-4.
Pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett connected for a two-run homer in the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez earned his major league-leading 26th save.
Peralta gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked two in his second win over Friedrich and the Rockies in six days.
Friedrich (0-2) yielded five runs and nine hits over four innings. He struck out eight and walked one in his second start of the season.
“I was getting behind batters and not really executing down in the zone,” Friedrich said. “You just have to execute, especially when you’re ahead.”
Friedrich temporarily settled down after the rough first inning, striking out four consecutive batters during one stretch – including all three in the second. But he ran into trouble again in the fifth, when the Brewers regained the lead.
“It’s a tough recipe when your starter is out of the game before the sixth,” Weiss said.
The Rockies threatened in the seventh, loading the bases with two outs. Will Smith struck out Corey Dickerson to preserve Milwaukee’s lead.
In the Colorado eighth, Michael McKenry led off with a double against Brandon Kintzler. After consecutive groundouts, pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes struck out looking, stranding McKenry at third.
“Certainly nothing has come easy lately,” Weiss said. “We had some opportunities late.”
Four Brewers relievers combined for three shutout innings.
NOTES: Weeks hit his 26th career leadoff homer. … Wheeler’s grand slam was the first of his career and just his third home run in three seasons of limited action with the Rockies. … Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario left with lower back tightness. … Rockies reliever Boone Logan (left elbow inflammation) made a rehab appearance for Triple-A Colorado Springs. … Milwaukee’s Kyle Lohse (9-2) will face Tyler Matzek (1-2) on Friday in the second of a four-game series.