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Brewers, Burnitz Bomb Bichette

Dante Bichette thought he'd seen everything at County Stadium.

As a former Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, his Colorado Rockies teammates went to him for advice before the team's first-ever visit to the venerable ballpark. Bichette told them that while the clubhouse wasn't as stylish as they are used to, there was nothing quirky about the field.

But Jeromy Burnitz proved him wrong with an eighth-inning triple that led to the winning run in Colorado's 3-2 loss to the Brewers in the only National League game Monday night.

"I thought I had him played pretty good," Bichette said of Burnitz's triple off reliever Chuck McElroy leading off the eighth. "It just kicked right down the line. He hit it pretty well. Usually, it doesn't hit the wall like that. It will kick off at a little bit of an angle. But it was smoked."

Still, Bichette figured he had the angle on it.

"I've got to play it like there's going to be a bounce. I can't play it like it's going to hug the wall," Bichette said. "It was hit so hard, I thought I was going to hold him to a single."

Instead, Burnitz had his first triple of the season, and he scored the tiebreaking run on John Jaha's bouncer to shortstop.

Jaha learned before the game that he needs surgery on his left foot because ligaments are so loose that they're not holding his bones in place properly. But Jaha said he'll play through the pain and try to delay the operation until after the season.

"My job is not to go out there and steal bases," Jaha said. "My job is just to balance the lineup and provide protection for Jeromy Burnitz and some other guys and come up with some big hits."

Jaha, the Brewers' injury-prone slugger who hurt his left foot running the bases on April 22, didn't get the big hit Monday night, but he did get the big bounce.

The contact play wasn't on, so Burnitz froze until he saw Perez start to jump for Jaha's bouncer. Then Burnitz darted for home, scoring as Jaha hobbled to first.

"You want to see it go through, but I saw it was a high chopper," Burnitz said.

Brewers manager Phil Garner was equally impressed with Burnitz's base-running on the triple that bounced hard off the right-field wall, skipping past Bichette, who had just moved over from left.

"On that triple, he was motoring," Garner said. "He was flat out motoring."'

McElroy (2-2), who replaced starter Darryl Kile to start the eighth, had Burnitz in an 0-and-2 hole before serving up a high fastball.

"He threw a high fastball to a high-fastball hitter with two strikes," Rockies manager Don Baylor said. "I'm pretty sure he might want to have that one back. He didn't get it in a spot he wanted to. Lefty against lefty, I'm looking for a strieout, not a triple."

"I tried to get him to chase it high, and he got good wood on it," McElroy said.

Al Reyes (3-0) got the victory with one inning of scoreless relief. Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.

Mike Lansing went 3-for-4 with a homer for the Rockies. He doubled and scored a run in the first on Kirt Manwaring's RBI single and tied it 2-2 in the fifth inning with his fourth homer. Needing a triple for the cycle, he grounded out to short to end the game.

Brewers starter Brad Woodall gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. Kile was equally effective, allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings.

Kile was seeking to snap a seven-game losing streak, one short of his career worst. In his last six road starts, including five losses, Kile has allowed just eight runs.

"He pitched a good ballgame," Baylor said. "It frustrates me and I know it probably frustrates him as far as a lack of run support when he pitches. It's pretty consistent. We can't score for him."

Rookie Bobby Hughes drove in two runs and gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead with his first career triple in the fourth.

Notes: Brewers center fielder Marquis Grissom hit three singles and now shares the team lead for multihit games at 19 with third baseman Jeff Cirillo. ... The Rockies set a club record by stretching their errorless streak to 109 innings, dating to June 10. ... The teams conclude their two-game series today with Milwaukee right-hander Bronswell Patrick making his first major league start.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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