MILWAUKEE -- Less than 24 hours after what was arguably their ugliest loss all season, the Brewers bounced back with what was easily their ugliest win.
They’ll take it.
“The game has twists and turns and ups and downs and good fortune and bad fortune,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We caught a break, there’s no doubt about it.”
To get to that good break at the end of a 7-6 victory over the Rockies at American Family Field on Wednesday, Milwaukee came back from a 4-0 deficit in the fourth inning to claim a 5-4 lead by the fifth, lost the lead on a bad-hop base hit in the seventh and then gave away a run on an error in a sloppy top of the 10th.
So, the Brewers rallied back once again. Mark Canha, whose fumble in left field moments earlier had spotted the Rockies a 6-5 lead, hit a game-tying ground-rule double leading off the bottom of the 10th and ultimately scored when Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar threw away Andruw Monasterio’s two-out grounder for a game-ending error.
“I just tried to hustle up the line to help the team win,” Monasterio said. “I’m glad it worked.”
The victory preserved the Brewers’ lead atop the National League Central. They were 2 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs after Chicago’s loss on Wednesday, and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Reds after Cincinnati let a late lead slip away against the Marlins.
The upcoming schedule makes that lead all the more critical. After dropping a series at Washington last week, splitting four games at home against the Pirates and then narrowly taking this three-game series from the Rockies after a walk-filled 10th inning in Tuesday night’s loss, the Brewers have one more series against a sub-.500 team this weekend when they travel to play the White Sox. After that, it’s a trio of first place teams: The Dodgers and Rangers on the road followed by the Twins back home in Milwaukee.
“Every game now feels like a must-win,” Canha said. “We’re coming down the stretch here so you want to get all the games we can. We have to pile up wins.”
Wednesday was a day of little breaks, good and bad for the Brewers.
For the first nine innings, mostly bad.
In the fourth, Adrian Houser didn’t get the call on a 2-2 sinker he and catcher William Contreras considered perfectly placed, and Jurickson Profar pounded the very next pitch for a home run that sparked a four-run Rockies rally.
“That’s a big pitch right there,” Houser said. “Kind of a turning point in that inning.”
But Tyrone Taylor’s two-run double and Christian Yelich’s run-scoring single reclaimed three of those runs in the bottom of the inning, and Willy Adames and Monasterio delivered back-to-back home runs with two outs in the fifth for a 5-4 lead.
For Adames, the home run was a moment to exhale. He’d been held out of the Brewers’ lineup each of the previous two nights as he fights through the deepest slump of his baseball life, and while Wednesday wasn’t exactly a triumph -- he was 1-for-4 with a walk and a shallow fly-out in the 10th inning when a medium fly ball would have scored the tying run from third -- it marked a start.
“I’ve been telling you that I want to contribute to the team, that I want to help the team win more games, and today, I feel it was a great day,” Adames said. “We wish we would have won the game in the ninth, but a win’s a win, and it feels great.”
The teams were knotted after the ninth only because of another bad break two innings earlier. With reliever Abner Uribe back on the mound mere hours after issuing two bases-loaded walks during a four-run Brewers bullpen meltdown in the 10th inning Tuesday, Profar hit a two-out bouncer that took a big hop and hit second baseman Brice Turang in the chest for an infield hit that tied the game at 5.
In the 10th, another tough hop threatened to put the Brewers away. Again with two outs, Tovar lined a double to the left-center field gap that caromed in a way that surprised Canha and allowed a run to score for a Colorado lead.
Fortunately for Canha, he didn’t have to wait long for another chance. He led off the bottom of the 10th against Colorado closer Justin Lawrence.
“I made that mistake in the outfield and I wanted more than anything to make up for it,” said Canha, who was 0-for-4 before lining his game-tying double, and owns .478 OPS in nine games since a trade from the Mets to the Brewers. “I felt horrible about that mistake.
“Sometimes there’s poetic justice. You get a shot at redemption.”
For the Brewers, redemption meant a win, ugly or not.
“We blew up so many games already that we need to win games like today,” Adames said. “We need to continue to be better. We’re going on a road trip to face good teams and we need to be better. We have to play better baseball.”