Buddle, who supplied 42 goals in 106 games for Columbus from 2001-05, gave the Rapids all the scoring they would need early in the contest when he fired in a ball left for him in the middle of the box by Atiba Harris.
Dillon Powers doubled the advantage in the 69th minute as Colorado (4-4-3) improved to 4-1-2 in its last seven games.
The Crew, meanwhile, fell to 3-4-3 with their second straight home defeat.
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