MILWAUKEE -- If the Brewers could only convince Major League Baseball to schedule all of their games at Miller Park, this rebuild could be completed in record time.
Ryan Braun continued a productive August by belting a pair of home runs, and the Brewers finished a three-game sweep of the Rockies with a 7-1 win on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park. Milwaukee improved to 36-29 at Miller Park vs. 20-41 elsewhere, representing baseball's widest disparity between home and road results.
"I thought that might be the first question," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell when the matter was raised. "I didn't have an explanation for the road, so I can't say I have an explanation for home. I think it just comes down to we're playing well. We're playing good games. Anytime you sweep a series, you're getting contributions from a lot of guys."
Braun's solo homer in the fourth inning and two-run shot in the seventh gave him 24 home runs this season and 28 RBIs this month, second in the Majors to Nolan Arenado of the Rockies. Arenado homered for the second straight day, a solo jack in the first inning off Milwaukee's Zach Davies, giving the National League Most Valuable Player Award candidate 29 RBIs in August and a Major League-leading 108 RBIs this season. He also leads the NL with 34 home runs.
Rockies starter Tyler Anderson set a career high with 10 strikeouts, but he took the loss after allowing Braun's game-tying solo homer in the fourth and Jonathan Villar's go-ahead double in the fifth. Davies snapped a two-start losing streak while striking out eight over six innings, leading the Brewers to their fourth series sweep this season. Milwaukee's four-game winning streak matches a season high.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED No. 200: When he took Rockies reliever Chad Qualls deep in the seventh, highlighting a game-breaking, four-run Brewers rally, Braun notched his 27th career multihomer game and his fifth this season. He also hit a milestone: Including Qualls, Braun has homered off 200 pitchers in his career.
"Obviously, I had no idea," Braun said. "If I have been able to do that, that speaks to some longevity, some consistency. So it's a pretty cool accomplishment." More >
Nolan being Nolan: The pinball battle between Arenado and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant for sole possession of the league lead in homers continued on Wednesday. Arenado regained the lead in the first by blasting a no-doubter into the left-field bleachers. Davies presented Arenado with an appetizing 1-1 fastball, which the Rockies' third baseman turned on and hit 404 feet, according to Statcast™. It was the second consecutive game with a homer for Arenado, who has gone deep four times in as many days. Colorado scratched across just seven runs in the series -- four of which came on Arenado homers.
"We had some hits over the course of the series, but had a hard time putting together that big inning, putting a crooked number up there," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "With the exception of Nolan's three-run homer [on Tuesday], we weren't able to bunch the hits together and put together a big inning."
Added Arenado: "It's nice to swing the bat well, but when you don't win, that's the ultimate goal, right? I'm not going to say it doesn't mean anything, because I know I'll be able to sleep a little better knowing I'm swinging the bat like I know I can. But it's tough knowing we got swept like this." More >
Adding on: The Brewers' lead was 2-1 in the sixth when a bit of small ball provided insurance. With one out and runners at the corners after Hernan Perez stole third base, rookie Orlando Arcia squared to bunt a 2-1 pitch from Chris Rusin. When Rusin and catcher Tony Wolters converged on the baseball, Perez broke home, arching his back to avoid Wolters' tag while scoring without a slide. Arcia was credited with an RBI single on what Counsell said was a called safety squeeze.
"They had the top of their lineup coming up," Counsell said. "I just thought, 'Get a run here, add a run and get a little space.' Orlando executed it really well."
Colorado rocky road: Entering the day, the Rockies' bullpen had posted a 5.80 ERA and blown six of eight save opportunities as the team dropped 12 of its past 18 games. There was no save situation to be had against the Brewers on Wednesday, but those numbers did not get any prettier after the Colorado 'pen allowed five earned runs over three innings. All four runs scored in Milwaukee's seventh inning that broke the game open came with two outs. Braun hit his two-run homer off Qualls, who then allowed the next four batters to reach base and gave up two runs on a Chris Carter double and Domingo Santana single. In the series, the Rockies' bullpen allowed nine runs in eight innings, compared to one run in 10 innings for Milwaukee.
"We're struggling out there right now, but you just have to work through it," Weiss said. "We've got some young guys out that are very talented that are learning on the job. We've got some veterans that are searching for some confidence right now."
"When you have lost six in a row, you have to keep focused and turn the page to win the most games you can. We're going to keep playing hard and try to win the most games we can." -- Perez, on the Brewers following a six-game losing streak with their current four-game surge
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According to STATS, Rockies starting pitchers had never recorded double-digit strikeouts in consecutive games prior to this series. That changed against the Brewers when Anderson fanned 10 on Wednesday, one day after Jon Gray also recorded that same number of punchouts.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Colorado travels to Washington, D.C., for a three-game series over the weekend against the Nationals. After giving up seven runs (six earned) in his Major League debut on Saturday, Jeff Hoffman will take the mound for the Rockies at 5:05 p.m. MT.
Brewers: The Brewers host four games against the Pirates, beginning with Wily Peralta on the mound for Thursday's 7:10 p.m. CT series opener. Since 2006, Milwaukee is 68-19 (.782) against Pittsburgh at Miller Park.