DENVER -- Battling for the National League home run title, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado helped fend off Chris Carter and the Brewers in Colorado's 4-1 win on Friday at Coors Field.
Arenado drove his 41st homer of the season -- a two-run shot -- over the center-field fence in the first inning, and the Rockies never looked back. Carter brought the Brewers closer with a fourth-inning leadoff homer, his 40th, but that was all the offense Milwaukee could manage. Arenado and Carter are now Nos. 1 and 2 in the NL for home runs, with the Cubs' Kris Bryant trailing close behind with 39 homers. Arenado was tied with Bryce Harper for the NL lead last season with 42.
"I wasn't trying to hit any more homers, I was just trying to hit it hard," Arenado said. "Definitely when [Carter] hit his homer, I realized he was one behind me now. He's a great hitter and he's had an unbelievable year. He's got a lot of power. He barely touched that ball and it went flying. He's a good hitter, and he's having a great year. The competition is fun, and that's just the way it goes. I feel like every time I hit a homer, the other guy does."
Brewers starter Brent Suter surrendered four runs in five innings on 10 Rockies hits. Suter was making his second career start and his first since his Major League debut on Aug. 19. The outing raised his ERA from 2.16 to 3.22.
"I feel bad, I gave up the lead for Chris," Suter said. "Hopefully he gets a couple in these next games. His swing is looking really good. I'm so happy for him getting 40. It stinks to lose, but at least that's a little silver lining."
Rockies starter Chad Bettis limited the Brewers to one run on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts to win his team-high 14th game. Although five of the Brewers' hits off him went for extra bases, Milwaukee was 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners on base. Rockies closer Adam Ottavino earned his seventh save of the season with a clean ninth inning.
"He's been solid throughout," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of Bettis. "A hiccup here or there, but other than that he's been very reliable. He's performed very well. It's been a good season for Chad. I think he took that next step as a pitcher this year."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Navigating through trouble: Bettis' greatest challenge came in the sixth inning, when he surrendered three hits, a walk and a double steal, but no Brewers runs. After Rockies left fielder David Dahl threw out Carter at the plate trying to score from second on a Hernan Perez single, Bettis loaded the bases on another single by Orlando Arcia and a walk by Martin Maldonado. With the pitcher's spot up, Brewers manager Craig Counsell opted for pinch-hitter Josmil Pinto, but Bettis struck him out looking on five pitches -- his fifth and final one of the night.
"I'm never comfortable when the bases are loaded, but that's Chad right there," Weiss said. "He doesn't waver. The body language is always strong. He always looks like he's in control, and he pitched his way out of that jam. Obviously that was real big."
Lordy, Lordy, Carter hit 40: When Carter's drive to center field cleared the fence in the fourth, he became the sixth player in Brewers history to produce 40 home runs in a season. Prince Fielder and Richie Sexson had a pair of such seasons, and Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie and Ryan Braun had one each. The Brewers' most recent 40-homer season had belonged to Braun, who belted 42 in 2012.
"It's definitely nice. It's a place I've never been," said Carter, whose previous career high for home runs was 37, for the Astros in 2014. More >
Arenado flashes his leather: Arenado had a big day at the plate but also had two signature defensive plays. With Domingo Santana on second and no outs in the fourth, he nabbed a sharp grounder down the line from Perez, threw him out and held the Santana at second. Two innings later, he did the same thing by making a diving stop to throw out Santana from his knees and hold Carter at second.
"I take more pride in defense [than home runs]," Arenado said. "The home runs just come. I don't think about the home runs. I really take pride in trying to make my plays. After yesterday's error, I was really happy I was able to play some good defense today. I really wanted to make some plays and do my job because yesterday was frustrating for me."
Accustomed to altitude: All three of the Brewers' pitchers on Friday -- Suter and relievers Tyler Cravy and Rob Scahill -- worked down the road from Coors Field this season at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Pitching in place of Taylor Jungmann, who was sidelined by a hip injury, Suter threw 86 pitches and surrendered four runs on 10 hits in five innings. When Arenado's homer found the seats in the first inning, it snapped Suter's streak of 12 scoreless appearances, all in relief.
"He's certainly going to go into Spring Training under consideration to make the roster," Counsell said. "You have to look at him. He's pitched well. He's done well for himself."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The win, the 75th on the season, clinched the highest win total for the Rockies under manager Walt Weiss. In four seasons, he owns a 283-363 record, and his .438 winning percentage is the lowest in franchise history for any manager.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Counsell won a challenge in the second inning after Charlie Blackmon stole second base. That call was overturned, with officials in the replay review center ruling that second baseman Scooter Gennett tagged Blackmon's foot before he reached the bag.
The Rockies challenged a sixth-inning call that Perez was safe while attempting to steal third. After reviewing the play, the call stood, as the replay official could not definitively determine that third baseman Arenado tagged Perez before he reached the base.
The Brewers made it a replay trifecta in the eighth, when they challenged the call at second base on Perez's double-play grounder. The call was overturned; Perez was safe.
SURGERY AHEAD FOR BREWERS' NIEUWENHUIS
Counsell confirmed Friday that outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis won't make it back on the field this season because of a sports hernia he aggravated during a Sept. 16 game against the Cubs. Nieuwenhuis will undergo a surgical procedure after the season, according to his manager.
DJ LIFTED TO PROTECT TITLE
After starting the game 0-for-2, DJ LeMahieu was removed from the game following the third inning. He currently leads Nationals infielder Daniel Murphy -- who hasn't played since Sept. 20 and started since Sept. 17 with a left gluteal strain -- for the National League batting title .3478 to .3472. Weiss indicated that LeMahieu -- who sat out three games in the past week -- wouldn't play again unless Murphy plays. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers:Wily Peralta will make his final start of a tumultuous season in Saturday's 7:10 p.m. CT game. Peralta was Milwaukee's Opening Day starter but was demoted to Triple-A in June and only found sustained success after returning to the Majors in August to replace an injured Junior Guerra. Peralta has a 3.23 ERA in nine starts since coming back to the bigs.
Rockies: Right-hander Jeff Hoffman gets the call against the Brewers on Saturday after fellow rookie Tyler Anderson was scratched. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. MT. Hoffman has given up 27 runs (15 earned) in 22 1/3 innings over five starts and was recently moved to the bullpen to preserve his innings.
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.