MILWAUKEE – Michael Cuddyer hit a tiebreaking RBI single off closer John Axford in the ninth inning Friday night, and the Colorado Rockies held on to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3.
Norichika Aoki hit an inside-the-park home run for Milwaukee in the fourth, the first major league homer for the former Japanese baseball batting champion. Aoki added a double and scored a run in the sixth.
Todd Helton hit his second home run of the season and Troy Tulowitzki had a single and an RBI double for the Rockies.
Ryan Braun went 0 for 3 but did reach base when he was hit by a pitch. Braun is 0 for 14 in the first four games of the Brewers' current homestand.
Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth for his fourth save, leaving a runner on third base.
Matt Belisle (1-0) earned the win.
Pinch-hitter Jason Giambi hit a bloop single off Axford (0-1) to start the ninth, and was replaced by pinch-runner Eric Young — who took second when Axford unleashed a wild throw to first on a pickoff attempt. Young advanced to third on a flyout, and Cuddyer came in as a pinch hitter. Cuddyer singled up the middle, giving the Rockies a 4-3 lead.
Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin went seven innings, giving up three runs and four hits with a walk and six strikeouts. He also had an RBI single in the fourth.
Chacin retired his first 10 batters before Aoki hit a sharp liner in the fourth and the ball scooted past the outstretched glove of diving left fielder Carlos Gonzalez. The ball went to the wall, where there was a brief moment of indecision between Gonzalez and center fielder Dexter Fowler about who should pick it up. Aoki continued to cruise around the basepaths and was able to score standing up.
The Brewers signed Aoki in the offseason after being awarded negotiating rights with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. He is a three-time Central League batting champion.
Brewers starter Shaun Marcum went six innings, giving up three runs and eight hits.
The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the first when Carlos Gonzalez singled, stole a base and scored on a double by Tulowitzki.
Marcum then loaded the bases in the fourth, intentionally walking Chris Nelson with two outs to bring up the pitcher. Chacin delivered an RBI single, scoring Tulowitzki, but Braun threw out Ramon Hernandez at the plate.
Hernandez may have felt catcher Jonathan Lucroy missed his shoulder with the tag as he slid and argued vehemently with home plate umpire Larry Vanover.
After Aoki's homer cut the Rockies' lead to 2-1, Helton belted a homer deep to right-center field in the sixth for a 3-1 lead. The Rockies then put runners on second and third with one out, but Nelson hit a grounder and third baseman Aramis Ramirez threw home for the out — the Brewers' second putout at the plate.
Milwaukee came back to tie the game in the sixth on an RBI single by Corey Hart that scored Aoki and an RBI single by Mat Gamel that scored Braun, who had been hit by a pitch.
NOTES: Milwaukee placed LHP Chris Narveson on the 15-day disabled list with a tear in his rotator cuff. The injury still is being evaluated but may require surgery. ... The Rockies rested Cuddyer, who has a bruised big toe after fouling a ball off of his foot, until he pinch hit in the ninth. ... Rockies reliever Josh Roenicke briefly chatted with his uncle, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, before Friday's game.