MILWAUKEE – Michael Cuddyer lined a two-run double in the eighth and Jeremy Guthrie pitched seven strong innings Sunday, leading the Colorado Rockies to a 4-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The win put a damper on the celebration of Ryan Braun's NL MVP and Silver Slugger awards. The Brewers slugger received his trophies in a pregame ceremony.
Guthrie (2-1) got the better of Yovani Gallardo in a matchup of opening-day starters, surrendering one run and three hits in seven innings. Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth for his fifth straight save to open the season.
Francisco Rodriguez (0-2) took the loss. The closer-turned-setup-man who accepted an arbitration offer of $8 million in the offseason rather than leave as a free agent, has struggled in 2012. The two runs he allowed Sunday pushed his ERA to 6.75.
Guthrie has also had his struggles and was coming off a pair of poor starts, giving up a combined 12 runs in 10 1-3 innings after a strong outing at Houston on opening day.
He looked good Sunday, allowing only one runner past second base — Braun, who walked in the fourth and scored on Mat Gamel's two-out single to make it 1-1. Colorado had opened the scoring with an RBI single by Jason Giambi in the first.
The Rockies went ahead in the eighth. With one out, Troy Tulowitzki singled and Giambi walked. Cuddyer — who had the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth off Brewers closer John Axford in Friday's 4-3 win — followed with a line-drive double to the left-field gap.
Braun had a chance to be the star in the eighth. Rickie Weeks walked and Carlos Gomez singled to open the inning off Rex Brothers, but Matt Belisle got Braun to pop out, Aramis Ramirez to fly out to right and Corey Hart to strike out to end the threat.
Belisle has not allowed a run in 15 1-3 innings dating to Sept. 6, 2011.
Gonzalez also had an RBI single in the ninth off top Brewers pitching prospect Wily Peralta, who was making his major league debut.
Gallardo — 0-4 with a 6.69 ERA in six starts again the Rockies entering play — gave up six hits and one run in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked one, giving way to Rodriguez.
Before the game, Hall of Famer Robin Yount presented Braun the MVP trophy during a brief and somewhat subdued ceremony. Braun also received the 2011 Silver Slugger trophy from team owner Mark Attanasio. That honor is given to the top offensive player at each position in each league.
Shortly after he won the MVP award, it was first reported by ESPN that Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone but his 50-game suspension was overturned on appeal.
He is off to a slow start this year.
Braun has the fewest home runs (two) and RBIs (seven) through 15 games in his six-year career. His .255 average is his second worst this early in the season. Braun hit .250 in his first 15 games in 2008. He is 2 for 20 on the homestand.
NOTES: Jamie Moyer pitches for Colorado on Monday against Pittsburgh after becoming the oldest pitcher in Major League history (49 years, 151 days) to record a win Tuesday. . Tulowitzki's .402 career average against the Brewers before Sunday was the second-highest for a player with at least 20 games against Milwaukee in franchise history. . Sunday was bobblehead day at Miller Park for Brewers' catcher Jonathan Lucroy.