DENVER (The Sports Xchange)– The odds are very good that when Chad Bettis starts for the Colorado Rockies, they will win.
It has been that way this season for nearly three months, including one final time Friday night when Bettis pitched into the seventh and the Rockies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1.
Bettis (14-8) finished his exemplary season with career-highs in wins, innings (186), starts (32) and strikeouts (138).
The Rockies have won 16 of Bettis’ past 20 starts since June 9, including his final 10 at Coors Field. During that 20-start stretch, Bettis is 10-3 with a 4.32 ERA. The Rockies went 21-11 in Bettis’ starts this season.
He worked 6 2/3 innings and left with a runner at third base. Carlos Estevez came on and struck out cleanup hitter Chris Carter, who had hit his 40th homer in the fourth. After Estevez worked 1 1/3 hitless innings, Adam Ottavino retired the side in order in the ninth and earned his seventh save.
The Rockies bunched their four runs into the first three innings. Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer in the first, keeping him atop the National League with 41 homers. He is one homer shy of the career-high 42 he hit last year.
Charlie Blackmon singled home a run in the second, giving him 80 RBIs. He is the eighth player in NL history to drive in 80 runs from the leadoff spot.
After Arenado doubled to open the fourth, Nick Hundley brought him home with a single off Brent Suter (2-2). Making a spot start after 12 consecutive scoreless relief appearances, Suter threw 86 pitches in five innings and allowed 10 hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
The Rockies defense saved a run in the sixth after Carter led off with a double. Third baseman Arenado made a diving backhanded stop of Domingo Santana’s hard smash and threw from his knees to get him at first.
Hernan Perez followed with a single, and Carter tried to rumble home from second but was thrown out by left fielder David Dahl. After Orlando Arcia singled, the Brewers pulled off a double steal and loaded the bases when Bettis walked Martin Madonado.
But Bettis threw a called third strike past pinch hitter Josmil Pinto to end the inning.
Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu went 0-for-2 and was removed from the game in the fourth. With a .348 average, LeMahieu likely won’t play in the remaining two games this season.
He is one point ahead of Washington’s Daniel Murphy in the National League batting race. Murphy has a strained buttocks and last appeared on Sept. 20 as a pinch-hitter.
LeMahieu is 192-for-552 (.3478). Murphy is 184-for-530 (.3471).
The Rockies scored in each of the first three innings and built a 4-0 lead. Nick Hundley’s single in the fourth scored Nolan Arenado, who led off with a double, to provide the four-run lead.
Arenado hit a two-run homer in the first, a 460-foot shot to straightaway center. It was Arenado’s National League-leading 41st home run, putting him one shy of his career high set last year.
Milwaukee’s Chris Carter stayed within one homer of Arenado for the NL lead when he belted his 40th homer in the fourth to make it 4-1. Carter is the sixth player in Brewers franchise history to hit at least 40 homers in a season.
Charlie Blackmon’s single put the Rockies ahead 3-0 in the second. The hit gave Blackmon 80 RBIs, making him the eighth player in National League history to drive in at least 80 runs from the leadoff spot. The last player to reach that milestone was Rickie Weeks (81 RBIs) with Milwaukee in 2010.
Blackmon drove in Daniel Descalso, who opened the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Chad Bettis.