Bronswell Patrick was in a big hurry to get to the ballpark on Tuesday and his teammates didn't take long to stake him to a big lead.
"It was a sleepless night and I got to the ballpark about 10:30 this morning, an hour earlier than I was supposed to be here," Patrick said after the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 in his first major league start after a decade in the minors.
"I just wanted to get here, I couldn't wait," Patrick said.
But Patrick did have a long wait in the bottom of the first, one he didn't mind as the Brewers scored six times off Jamey Wright (5-8).
"Of course that calmed me down," Patrick said. "I was able to relax a little when we scored so many runs so early."
His teammates recognized the moment with good-natured ribbing.
"Tell him what you told us, that it was a piece of cake," pitcher Paul Wagner teased.
But the Brewers' jubilation was tainted with sadness for another rookie pitcher, right-hander Travis Smith, who blew out his right elbow in his major league debut Saturday night.
General manager Sal Bando said Smith might need Tommy John-style tendon replacement surgery. At the very least, he'll need months of rehabilitation.
"I'm bummed," Smith said. "It was my dream to play in the majors and now this."
Smith was placed on the 15-day disabled list and the Brewers recalled outfielder Geoff Jenkins from Class AAA Louisville after the game.
Patrick (3-0), a 27-year-old rookie who was called up from the minors last month, gave up four earned runs on seven hits in 7 1-3 innings as the Brewers swept the two-game series in the Rockies' first trip ever to County Stadium.
"We hit some balls pretty good and the kid didn't lose his composure," Rockies manager Don Baylor said. "So many times young guys get a large lead like that and they don't know how to handle it."
Patrick, whose previous seven appearances had been in relief, left to cheers after giving up a single to Todd Helton with one out in the eighth. But the crowd booed reliever Doug Jones, who recently lost his closer's job, and was greeted by Vinny Castilla's 23rd homer, making it 7-5. It was Castilla's first home run in 73 at-bats, dating to June 3.
"I try not to think about it," Castilla said of his home run drought. "Because, if you think about it, you put more pressure on yourself. If you try too hard, you can't do anything."
Jones has allowed 11 homers in 46 1-3 innings. Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his eighth save in nine chances.
The Brewers' first five batters scored. Jeromy Burnitz, John Jaha, David Nilsson and Bobby Hughes each had RBI singles and Jose Valentin was credited with a two-run double when center fielder Jef Barry fielded his hit cleanly but didn't get it back quickly.
"What a nightmare," Wright said. "It was a nightmare. I was making pretty good pitches, pitches that got outs every other game."
After Jaha made it 7-0 with a solo homer in the second, Neifi Perez tripled home a run and scored on Mike Lansing's grounder to pull Colorado to 7-2 in the third. Barry doubled in the fifth and scored on Lansing's sacrifice fly to make it 7-3.
"Jaha's pitch was just a bad pitch," Baylor said. "It was a high sinker up and away. That's not where a sinker is supposed to be."
Wright gave up seven earned runs on nine hits in six innings. After his poor start, he retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.
"Once he gets it figured out, he puts up some zeros on the board," Baylor said.
Notes: After the game, the Rockies placed right-handed pitcher John Thomson on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 16 with a blister on his pitching hand. Colorado called up right-handed pitcher Mike Saipe from Class AAA Colorado Springs to take his roster spot. ... Brewers setup man Chad Fox (shoulder) will throw for Class A Beloit on Thursday and Sunday. ... The Rockies ran their consecutive errorless streak to 116 innings and a franchise record 12 games.
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed