DENVER (AP) — There’s no other way to spin it: Catcher Victor Caratini came up clutch not only at the plate but by offering words of wisdom to his closer on spin rate.
Caratini hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning for the Milwaukee Brewers, helping Craig Counsell earn managerial win No. 600 in a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on a sweltering Monday.
Counsell reached the milestone in roller-coaster fashion, with his team trailing 3-0 after the first inning, rallying and then escaping a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth by calling on closer Devin Williams. In the ninth, Williams pitched around a leadoff walk for a four-out save.
Caratini had a hand in the save, too, by reminding Williams to keep his spin rate lower in the higher elevation of Coors Field.
“The more I spin the ball, the less it moves here, which is completely different than anywhere else,” Williams explained. “That’s kind of what Vic came out and said, ‘Ease up and let (the ball) do its thing.’”
The Brewers are trying to make a late push for their fifth straight postseason appearance. They trail San Diego by two games for the final NL wild card.
Adrian Houser (5-9) got the start over Freddy Peralta, who was given a few more days to rest a tired shoulder.
It was a rough opening inning for Houser. He took a liner from leadoff hitter Ryan McMahon off his calf on the third pitch. The right-hander tossed some warmup pitches, but couldn’t find his rhythm as he spotted Colorado a 3-0 lead.
After that, he masterfully settled in. Houser allowed three runs, one earned, and two hits over five innings.
“Just got to keep grinding and try to make pitches and get some outs,” Houser said. “I was able to do that today.”
He was helped out by a four-run sixth inning, with Jace Peterson tying the game on a sacrifice fly. It set the stage for Caratini, who hit his first homer since Aug. 4 on a slider from reliever Justin Lawrence.
But it wouldn’t be smooth sailing to the finish. C.J. Cron homered in the eighth to make it 6-4. The Rockies loaded the bases with two outs. That’s when the Brewers summoned in Williams, who got pinch-hitter Elias Díaz to ground out.
Williams worked his way around a walk in the ninth. He threw a changeup that Brendan Rodgers grounded into game-ending double play to earn save No. 10.
Ryan Feltner (2-7) took the loss for Colorado, surrendering four runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings. He also had seven strikeouts.
“He’s learning on the fly in the big leagues,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “For the most part, he’s succeeding. He’s a good learner and has a thirst for information, which is great.”
Charlie Blackmon had a two-run single for the Rockies, who returned to Coors Field after a 3-7 trip.
As for Counsell’s milestone win as a manager, Houser found out about it as the team was walking into the clubhouse.
“Pretty awesome feat,” Houser said.
Just don’t expect Counsell to celebrate. It’s not his way.
“I don’t celebrate well,” said Counsell, who took over the Brewers in 2015 and has a 600-542 mark. “The experience, I care about. The milestone? Pass.”
Brewers: Counsell said he got a thumbs-up that a bullpen session went well for reliever Trevor Rosenthal (left hamstring). … OF Christian Yelich finished 1 for 5 in his return to the lineup. Yelich missed the last three games with neck discomfort.
Rockies: SS José Iglesias has a swollen left hand. He will undergo an MRI. … LHP Lucas Gilbreath (elbow strain) won’t pitch again this season, Black explained.
HEAT IS ON
It was 94 degrees (34 Celsius) at first pitch, which tied the highest September mark for a Rockies home game. It was also 94 on Sept. 6, 1998, against San Diego.
A FEW MORE DAYS
Peralta’s confident his shoulder will be ready for Thursday’s start. He spent quite a bit of time on the injured list earlier this season with a strained shoulder.
“I know it’s not going to be a big deal,” Peralta said.
The Brewers will send righty Brandon Woodruff (9-4, 3.54 ERA) to the mound Tuesday. The Rockies will throw righty Chad Kuhl (6-8, 5.19).
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