DENVER (AP) — Jesus Aguilar went to the plate as a pinch-hitter, ready for a steady diet of breaking balls from Greg Holland. Colorado’s closer obliged, and the big right-hander made him pay with a game-turning drive.
Aguilar connected for a go-ahead home run with two outs in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Rockies 6-3 Saturday night for their fifth win in six games.
Aguilar didn’t look for a fastball.
“Never,” he said through a translator. “He throws all off speeds. Just looking for that.”
It was 3-all when Holland (2-4) hit Keon Broxton with an 0-2 pitch with one out in the ninth. Aguilar hit his 12th homer an estimated 449 feet into the left-center field bleachers.
“I threw him a few quality pitches at the bottom of the zone that were balls that he didn’t offer at,” Holland said. “At 3-2 with first base open, I know it’s a tie game but you can’t throw a pitch, a hanging slider, after he’s already seen five. It was just bad execution on my part.”
Milwaukee added another run as Eric Thames walked, stole second and Neil Walker’s RBI single chased Holland.
“If we would have scored one run that would have been great but their lineup is stacked up and down, so to add two, three runs was huge,” Thames said.
Travis Shaw also homered for the Brewers.
DJ LeMahieu got three hits and Trevor Story had two doubles for Colorado. The Rockies remained a game ahead of Arizona for the NL’s first wild card and 4 1-2 up on Milwaukee.
Anthony Swarzak (2-0) tossed one inning to get his second win since being acquired from the Chicago White Sox on July 26th. Corey Knebel got the last three outs for his 25th save.
The Rockies lost for the first time in 12 home games that Chad Bettis has started. Bettis, who pitched seven scoreless innings Monday in his first start since undergoing cancer treatment, went seven innings again and gave up three runs — all in the third.
Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff got his first career hit to lead off and came around on Thames’ triple. Thames scored on Ryan Braun’s sacrifice fly and Shaw homered into the Colorado bullpen to make it 3-0.
“The third inning, it got a little out of hand,” Bettis said. “Just didn’t execute some pitches that I needed to.”
The Rockies got one back on Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI single in the fourth, and then tied it in the seventh off Milwaukee’s bullpen. Charlie Blackmon had an RBI single, stole second and scored on LeMahieu’s single.
Woodruff retired the first two batters in the fifth but was pulled after walking Nolan Arenado. Josh Hader got Gerardo Parra to pop out to end the inning.
The Brewers managed just two hits after the third inning until Aguilar came through.
“Jesus Aguilar, just a sensational at-bat,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He saw six sliders and finally got one he could do something with. Just a great at-bat in a really big spot.”
Holland is tied for the major league lead in saves with 35 but he has struggled lately. He blew saves in consecutive games in the last two weeks after converting 34 of his first 35 chances.
After surrendering three runs Saturday, he has allowed nine earned runs in 6 1-3 innings in August.
“It’s just one of those things where I’ve made a lot of mistakes. They’ve cost us,” Holland said.
LeMahieu helped Bettis to a clean inning in the fifth with his Gold Glove defense at second base. First, he ranged up the middle to field Braun’s grounder, and then threw across his body to get him by half a step. Shaw then lofted a soft liner into right and LeMahieu made a running, leaping catch to end the inning.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (6-2, 2.89) is expected to be activated from the 10-day disabled list to make his 17th start. Anderson has been out since suffering an oblique strain June 28.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (11-7, 3.74) returned from the DL (left groin strain) and tossed six innings in a no-decision against Atlanta on Tuesday.
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