Carlos Gomez got the Milwaukee Brewers off to a fast start Saturday with a three-run home run in the first inning.
Then he made an early exit after taking the worst of a collision with right fielder Ryan Braun in the seventh.
Gomez wasn’t the only Brewer to depart early Saturday, but Milwaukee broke out to a 6-0 lead through five innings and hung on for a 7-4 victory at Miller Park, the Crew’s sixth straight win over the Colorado Rockies this season.
Braun and Jonathan Lucroy hit back-to-back one-out singles and Gomez followed with a blast to center off Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin (1-7). It was Gomez’s 13th homer of the season, but his first since June 5.
Chacin and Brewers starter Matt Garza (5-5) settled into a pitcher’s duel from there, with Garza facing the minimum through five innings, allowing two hits but having the runners eliminated by a caught stealing and a line drive double play.
The Brewers (51-32) appeared to put it out of reach in the fifth. Jean Segura led off with a single and moved up on Garza’s sacrifice. Scooter Gennett reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners and Braun tripled to right after the ball bounced past a diving Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies (35-46). Lucroy drove in Braun with a ground out to make it a 6-0 game.
Colorado began to chip away in the sixth, stringing together three straight one-out hits to load the bases before Drew Stubbs lofted a popup that Gennett couldn’t quite get to. The ball dropped in between Gennett, Braun and Gomez and drove in the first run of the day for the Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki made it 6-2 with a sacrifice fly to left.
In the bottom of the inning Aramis Ramirez led off with a single and Khris Davis belted a ground-rule double to left. Lyle Overbay went the other way, stroking a single to left to score Ramirez and make it a 7-2 Brewers lead.
Jean Segura hit a comebacker to Chacin, who threw home to get Davis. Segura, however, had to be replaced after he caught a cramp in his leg, with utility man Elian Herrera coming in to pinch-run and stay in the game at shortstop.
That would be significant later.
In the top of the seventh, Wilin Rosario singled and Ryan Wheeler lofted a pop fly into the gap between Gomez and Braun. The two outfielders converged, with Braun clipping Gomez as they passed each other.
Gomez stayed down for a few minutes and came out of the game with what was later called a neck strain.
With Herrera, who is also the backup center fielder, already in the game at shortstop, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke had to get creative. Braun made his first professional appearance in center field, with infielder Mark Reynolds going to right field for the third time this year and just the fifth time in eight big-league seasons.
Fortunately, neither would figure into the finish.
After the game resumed, Garza got a pop out, but D.J. LeMahieu singled to center to score both runners, cutting Milwaukee’s lead to 7-4.
Will Smith—pitching for the fourth straight day—came on in the eighth and immediately surrendered a double to Stubbs and walked Tulowitzki.
Stubbs got a huge jump from second, but Tulowitzki was late getting away from first and Lucroy made him pay, throwing through to second and nailing Tulowitzki for the final out of the inning.
Colorado challenged the ruling, eventually (it appeared to happen after the 30-second window to challenge between innings had closed), but the call was upheld.
Francisco Rodriguez, who had blown a save for just the third time all season the night before, came on and got the Rockies 1-2-3 with a pair of strikeouts for his major-league leading 27th save.
Milwaukee hammered out 13 hits, with Lucroy going 3-for-4 to raise his average back to .336. Braun and Overbay were each 2-for-4.
The Brewers will look to wrap up the season sweep of the Rockies Sunday at 1:10 p.m. at Miller Park. Yovani Gallardo (5-4, 3.23 ERA) gets the start for Milwaukee against Colorado lefty Jorge De La Rosa (7-6, 4.78 ERA).