MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jesus Aguilar got benched after his power at the plate went dormant for nearly a month.
Now he’s enjoying a sudden surge that’s even left his manager a bit surprised.
For the second game in a row, Aguilar provide the spark for the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting a three-run homer in the seventh inning that turned out to be the difference in a 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Aguilar, who had 35 homers and 108 RBIs last year, hit his first two home runs of the season on Monday night.
“I wasn’t expecting a home run today, to be honest with you,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Last year, Aguilar had 35 homers and 108 RBIs.
The Brewers again played without NL MVP Christian Yelich, who sat out with lower back soreness for the second straight game.
“It’s obviously unfortunate not having a guy like Christian in the lineup but we’re a team and we try to pick each other up,” Aguilar said through a translator. “Right now, it’s me.”
Jhoulys Chacin pitched six scoreless innings for the Brewers, who have won the first two in the four-game series. Milwaukee has won 12 of its last 14 against Colorado, including a sweep in last season’s NL Division Series.
German Marquez (3-2) took a perfect game into the sixth before surrendering a leadoff double to Ben Gamel that hit left fielder Raimel Tapia’s glove. Gamel later scored when pinch-hitter Ryan Braun grounded into a double play, making it 1-0.
Marquez was tagged by Aguilar the next inning.
“It was supposed to be up and in and it was up and away,” Marquez said.
Chacin (3-3) had struggled over his last four starts, giving up 15 runs in 17 2/3 innings. He allowed just two hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out one.
“I made good pitches when runners got on base. I think that’s one of the keys,” Chacin said. “My fastball command got better throughout the game.”
Josh Hader got two outs for his seventh save in as many tries despite giving up a two-out, two-run homer to Ian Desmond in the ninth.
Nolan Arenado’s run-scoring double in the ninth broke up the Brewers’ shutout.
Marquez, who has pitched at least five innings in each of his six starts and has the Rockies only complete game, was stellar through five innings. He had five strikeouts, with all other outs being recorded by infielders.
“He pitched well,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Perfect game through five innings, then they put a couple good swings on him.”
Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon didn’t start after playing 17 consecutive games. Tapia started in his place. Black said Blackmon was available off the bench.
Brewers: Yelich, who left Sunday’s game with low back discomfort, still hasn’t progressed to doing baseball activities and likely won’t play until the team opens a three-game series at home against the New York Mets beginning Friday, Counsell said. “Look, we are going to be cautious with this,” he said. ... RHP Freddy Peralta (right sternoclavicular joint irritation) will be activated from the injured list and start the series finale against the Rockies on Thursday. He has been out since April 16.
RECORD PURSUIT STYMIED
Yelich’s low-back issues ended his attempt to become the first player to hit 15 home runs before May 1. Yelich hit his 14th homer, a fourth-inning drive off the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard, on Saturday. The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger connected for his 14th home run on Sunday against the Pirates. Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007) are the only other players to hit 14 homers prior to May 1.
THAMES TO OUTFIELD
Eric Thames, who has primarily served as a pinch-hitter and backup first baseman, got his first start in right field this season. “He’s been out there before,” Counsell said.
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-1, 3.93 ERA) will get the start in the third game of the series. Senzatela will make his second career regular-season start against the Brewers. He also faced Milwaukee in Game 1 of the NLDS last season.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (2-0, 3.20) will make his third start of the season after making his first five appearances out of the bullpen. Anderson is 4-3 with a 4.68 ERA in 12 career starts against the Rockies.