DENVER -- If Brewers coaches had any second thoughts about the decision to change closers for the second time in less than two weeks, Francisco Cordero eased some minds on Tuesday night. In one of the more impressive escape acts this season, Cordero worked around a leadoff triple in the bottom of the ninth inning -- it wasn't his fault -- and struck out the side to preserve a 1-0 Brewers win over the Rockies at Coors Field. "I just said in my mind, 'I've got to get a couple strikeouts,'" said Cordero, acquired from the Texas Rangers last week. "Any contact and it's probably going to be a run scored. I did a pretty good job."More
That's a "pretty good" understatement. "Frankie had to do extra duty, but he was up to it," said Brewers manager Ned Yost, who deemed Cordero the closer on Monday in the wake of Derrick Turnbow's continuing struggles. "That's what I expect from him. He's a real competitor out there and he's got a lot of confidence in his abilities." Geoff Jenkins snapped an 0-for-20 slump with a two-hit night and scored the game's only run on Damian Miller's seventh-inning single, sending Rockies starter Josh Fogg (7-6) to his first loss since June 18. Brewers starter Dave Bush (7-8) pitched six scoreless innings and Cordero notched his second Brewers save. Yost replaced Bush with a pinch-hitter after Miller's go-ahead knock, hoping for a big inning that he didn't get. Relievers Brian Shouse and Matt Wise preserved the one-run lead for Cordero, who recorded the final out of the eighth inning and appeared to have the first out of the ninth when Todd Helton lifted a fly ball to right-canter field. Instead, center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. inserted in an eighth-inning double switch -- over-ran the ball and Helton scooted to third with what could only be ruled a triple. It had nothing to do with miscommunication, according to both Yost and Gwynn. "Bad play," Gwynn said. "There was too much thinking going on. It wasn't too instinctive. I make that play 99 out of 100 times, and I got caught up in trying to distinguish whether to keep the ball in front of me or to dive for it." It left Cordero in a bind, especially after he issued the second of two walks, loading the bases. Cordero escaped with his third strikeout of the inning, getting Cory Sullivan to fan at a slider. "You've got to go for the strikeout," said Cordero, who came to Milwaukee along with outfielder Kevin Mench and two Minor Leaguers in a trade that sent outfielders Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz to Texas. "Anything can happen with a ground ball or a fly ball. I know it's hard to strike [hitters] out, but that's what I set my mind to do." Maybe there is something to the bold assertion by infielder Jeff Cirillo earlier in the day that the Rockies are doctoring baseballs. Tuesday marked the third 1-0 game at Coors Field this season -- all Rockies losses. In the previous 11 seasons at Coors Field, there was just one 1-0 game. Jenkins, who made a mechanical adjustment to free up his back elbow, singled in his first at-bat, his first hit since July 22, and he doubled and scored the winning run in the seventh. Before that, it was a pitchers duel between Fogg and Bush, who held Colorado scoreless on five hits in six solid innings. With Bush out at the 77-pitch mark, pinch-hitter Gabe Gross singled and Brady Clark walked, loading the bases, but Tony Graffanino hit a long flyout to the left-field warning track to end the rally. "I really debated hard in the sixth whether we should pinch-hit for [Bush] or not, because he was really throwing good," Yost said. "But our bullpen was in good shape, and you don't really want to protect a run for the last three innings. ... You might as well go for it there and increase our odds." Said Bush: "In this place, you have to play to get as many runs as you can." Had Graffanino's fly ball traveled five feet farther, it would have looked like a great move. It was the Brewers' second near-home run of the night; in the second inning, Bill Hall hit what appeared would be a home run that instead clipped the top of the wall for a double. Bush's absence left the game to the Brewers' bullpen, which entered with a National League-worst 5.11 ERA. Shouse recorded the first out of the seventh inning and Wise worked 1 1/3 innings to get the ball to Cordero. "We don't have a lot of room for error right now in terms of wins and losses," Bush said. "Every win is important." The Brewers played their first 1-0 game this season and the 101st in franchise history.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less