MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers had to keep their brooms in the closet after a 5-4 loss to the Rockies on Sunday, but they head into their first off-day of the second half feeling good about what they've accomplished over the last few weeks.
"I feel good about how we've started the second half," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We've played 17 [games] in a row against teams with winning records and we've come out of it in a good place. It'll be nice for the guys to get a day of rest then come back and start another big series Tuesday [against San Diego]."
With the Cubs' loss to the Padres on Sunday, Milwaukee remains one game behind Chicago in the National League Central.
It's been three weeks since the Brewers dropped seven of eight games, including their final six heading into the All-Star break. They opened the second half dropping two of three at home to the Dodgers but are 9-5 since, winning three of their last four series.
Milwaukee's recent success does not ease the sting of an 11-inning loss, though. Rockies right-hander Jon Gray had stymied Milwaukee's offense all day, scattering four hits and allowing one run, which came on a Travis Shaw solo home run.
The Brewers faced a 4-1 deficit in the ninth but capitalized on multiple miscues by Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino catcher Tom Murphy. After Mike Moustakas hit his first Brewers home run, Ryan Braun reached on catcher's interference with one out. Erik Kratz struck out swinging with two outs but reached because the pitch got past Murphy. After Orlando Arcia's RBI double scored Braun, Kratz scored and tied the game on a wild pitch.
Left-hander Wade Miley threw five solid innings, allowing five hits with five strikeouts. His only blemish was Trevor Story's three-run homer in the fifth. It was the first clout Miley allowed this season. Story had four homers in the three-game series and seven in seven games against the Brewers this season.
"It's going to happen," Miley said. "Like I said, if I get the cutter down and in where I wanted it, maybe a ground ball to third, short, turn two. It didn't happen, and that's kind of the game right there."
Joakim Soria, Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader offered three shutout innings of relief, and Corbin Burnes looked like he was going to make it four when Story bounced into a double play to end the ninth. But Rockies manager Bud Black challenged the call, which was overturned. Colorado scored its fourth run on the play.
"It happens," Shaw said. "We put together a pretty good rally there in the ninth to get us to a spot to win, but Nolan's an All-Star for a reason. He stepped up, hit the homer and we tried again there in the 11th, got another little rally going.
"Then they made a play to get out of it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Knebel breezed through the 10th inning, so Counsell felt good about sending him out for a second inning for the first time since Sept. 22, 2017. He got Charlie Blackmon on a grounder to open the inning and struck out DJ LeMahieu before falling behind, 3-0, to Arenado.
Knebel worked his way back into the count with fastballs on the outer edges but missed his mark on a 3-2 four-seamer down the middle that Arenado turned on for his NL-leading 29th homer of the season.
"I wasn't going to let him beat my curveball," Knebel said. "I got to 3-0 and I was thinking there were two outs, he's a great hitter and there's another great hitter [in Story] on deck, so I'd rather have him beat me than walk him.
"I threw two good strikes to get TO 3-2, Kratz called a fastball up, which was right where I wanted to be but I missed it. It was a good pitch for him to hit and he took care of it. That's why he's a good hitter. He takes care of those pitches."
HE SAID IT
"Cancel all the day games and let's play at night." -- Miley, on the team's 4-14 record in Sunday afternoon games this season
After getting Monday off, the Brewers will return to action for the first of a three-game set with the Padres at Miller Park at 7:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Chase Anderson gets the nod for Milwaukee as he looks to continue his best stretch of the season. He's posted a 2.08 ERA over his last eight starts, spanning 43 1/3 innings. Clayton Richard will start for San Diego.