DENVER – In a second half marked by one brutal loss after the next, Tuesday night was easily the worst for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Manager Craig Counsell called on Luis Perdomo and Peter Strzelecki to take a five-run, eighth-inning lead behind starter Brandon Woodruff, who had gone through the first seven with little stress.
Instead, he saw his resolve backfire in spectacular fashion.
Perdomo allowed four runs without recording an out and Strzelecki gave up the tie. Then in the 10th, Taylor Rogers delivered a three-run home run to Randall Grichuk, sealing a 10-7 shocker at Coors Field.
Grichuk also hit the game-tying homer off Strzelecki as Milwaukee fell three games out of the chase for the third NL wild card after both the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies rallied late to win.
“Yeah, that was a bummer tonight,” said Christian Yelich, who was the talk of the town early after hitting a mammoth 499-foot home run on four pitches that ranks as the longest in the major leagues this season.
“It happens fast here. Everyone knows how quickly prospects go away here. It was one of those nights, and we’ve had a lot of them. It’s like the last few months, every couple of days there’s been a heartbreaking loss.
“But in this game, there’s nothing you can do but come back the next day and try to win. You can’t take it with you tomorrow. It might bite you tonight, but once tomorrow comes, you’ve got to find a way to win it.”
Woodruff’s pitch count was 91 when he was removed for Perdomo.
The right-hander, who had pitched once since being recalled from Class AAA Nashville on Sept. 1, had three hits in his first five pitches as Colorado went 6-2.
Yonathan Daza followed up with a three-run homer to center — just his second homer of the season — that put the Rockies within a run and left Counsell to turn to Strzelecki.
Perdomo’s earned run average jumped from 1.46 to 4.38 over four at-bats.
Strzelecki recorded two quick outs before Grichuk drove him deep to left, giving the Rockies a five-run eighth and electrifying the crowd.
“I thought that was the effort we needed from Woody,” Counsell said. “Going out there for seven innings, he did a good job, he had a good game. He put us in a great spot to win the game.
“Well, I went to Luis and it was quick, obviously. Then, nothing good happened after that, honestly.”
Strzelecki and Hoby Milner combined for a scoreless ninth, sending Milwaukee into extra innings for the 16th time.
Willy Adames opened the 10th with a double to left center on closer Daniel Bard’s first pitch, scoring Yelich and putting the Brewers back in front.
They were able to get going again with Adames on third and one out, but Adames was thrown out on a sharp ground ball and then Luis Urías flied out.
“We continue to make contact if it’s a hard ground ball,” Counsell said. “You still have a man in scoring position with two outs and it’s the same situation.”
Rogers, a native of Littleton, Colo., matched Bard by allowing an RBI double in the first game to Daza. An intentional walk put two on in hopes of setting up a double play, but the Brewers could only get to second on a groundout by Charlie Blackmon.
That set the stage for Grichuk, who finished the game with a 457-footer, no doubt, to left.
Closer Devin Williams was unavailable after recording the final four in a 6-4 win on Monday.
“It’s going to sting for a while tonight,” Woodruff said. “You know what? These last two days we’ve played good baseball and I think if we keep going like this, we’ve still got a little under a month — we’ve still got a lot of time to play good baseball and rattle off a bunch of wins in the series.
“I think we’ve got to keep that perspective. Because if we lose this, it’s not going to be good for us. It’s tough tonight. We’ve got to take the positives and just move on. That’s the tough part this game, but that’s got to be doing.
“We have to keep pushing forward and try to win as many games as we can.”
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Yelich set the tone early with his blast, a shot to right-center that landed five runs deep into the third deck in right-center and ranked as the longest hit ever by a left-hander at Coors Field as well as the second-longest ever.
Three batters later Hunter Renfroe joined the party, sending a two-run shot 440 feet out to center that made it 3-0, a 15-pitch game against Chad Kuhl.
Having banked on that early lead, Woodruff was mostly able to cruise along and after three innings had faced just one hit over the minimum, after Elehuris Montero’s fly ball to left went up in the jet stream and sailed toward the left.
The offense gave it a little more breathing room in the fourth when, after a double by Keston Hiura and a walk by Jace Peterson, Omar Narváez hit a two-run double up the wall in right.
Milwaukee tacked on another run in the seventh against Dinelson Lamett — the former Brewer — when Garrett Mitchell singled, stole second and scored on a two-run double by Adams.
Woodruff, whose most stressful inning proved to be the fifth when a pair of batters reached, pitched a quick 1-2-3 seventh to leave his pitch count at 91.
Did Woodruff feel he could have gone again for the eighth?
“I had a feeling this question was going to come up,” he said. “And believe me, I don’t feel good about it. The last inning — I had a quick inning, right? — the ball wasn’t necessarily coming out the way I wanted it to and I was kind of close to the end there.
“It’s hard for me to answer because if we don’t give up six runs there, then you don’t ask that question. It’s hard, I was thinking about it in the shower, actually. Obviously, this question dictates this one and I really don’t know how to answer it.
“But honestly, it was the right time. You start a clean inning with a reliever, and it just didn’t go well for us. And that’s the crappy part. You just move on. I don’t know if that’s the answer I’m looking for. But that’s tough.”
It was helped by some terrific defense, with Adames, Rowdy Tellez and Urías robbing Colorado batters of potential hits in the fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively.
Urías entered the game in the seventh for Kolten Wong, who left with left knee discomfort.
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This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Brewers give up five-game lead in blowout loss.