DENVER -- The Brewers built a six-run lead after three innings on Saturday, and manager Ron Roenicke thought they might cruise to an easy victory.
Not this team. Not this week. Nothing has been easy.
The same steady rain that contributed to starter Tom Gorzelanny's slip up in the sixth inning caused a one hour, one-hour, 45-minute minute delay between the moment closer Jim Henderson first took the mound in the bottom of the ninth and the moment he threw his first pitch. But Henderson was able to hold on for a 7-5 win over the Rockies at Coors Field.
After the long delay, Henderson pitched a nine-minute ninth for the Brewers' second victory in the six games since Ryan Braun's suspension.
"When it was raining, I tried to get out there to the mound as fast as I could, so we could go and get that inning in," Henderson said. "We had no luck with that one."
The Brewers needed Saturday's win to avoid falling back to 19 games under .500, which would have matched their lowest point this season.
"We've battled the last three games, and I think we should feel good about that as a team," Henderson said. "We've played hard. I feel like that's going to be our trend for the rest of the season -- no matter if we win or we lose, we're going to come off the field being happy about our effort."
Most of the Brewers' offense came prior to the rain. Shortstop Jean Segura hit a pair of RBI singles before exiting with a tight right forearm, the result of being hit by a pitch on a swing in the fourth. And Juan Francisco's 13th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning, made it 6-0.
With a six-run lead, Roenicke figured it might be a easy night.
"That's what I thought," he said.
Instead, the Rockies made things interesting with a four-run sixth. A steady rain had been falling for about 30 minutes when Colorado's DJ LeMahieu doubled and scored on Troy Tulowitzki's single to break up Gorzelanny's shutout bid, and the Brewers lefty appeared to slip while delivering Ball 4 to Michael Cuddyer.
Gorzelanny slipped again while delivering a 1-1 slider to Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario that wound up right down the middle. Rosario's three-run home run suddenly cut the Brewers' once wide lead to two runs. Gorzelanny was visibly agitated.
"I think it was [less] the mound and more the mistakes that I made," he said. "I feel like I could have done a better job of grinding it out and figuring out a way to make better pitches."
Said Roenicke: "He gets frustrated, and bad things happen."
Roenicke pointed out that Gorzelanny could have asked for a fix any time he wanted. And Gorzelanny said his manager and plate umpire Dana DeMuth made the offer before Rosario's critical at-bat, but Gorzelanny declined.
"I said, 'No,' because I didn't want to take a five-minute break," Gorzelanny said. "I wanted to keep pitching. I probably should have let them clean the mound a little."
After members of the grounds crew fixed the mound to Gorzelanny's satisfaction, his night was done. He allowed four earned runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings with a walk and four strikeouts, posting his first victory as a starting pitcher since May 7, 2011, for the Nationals against the Marlins. Saturday marked his 15th start since that date.
Reliever Brandon Kintzler recorded the final two outs of the inning to preserve Gorzelanny's lead, then pitched a scoreless seventh, working around a missed-catch error by Francisco at first base by inducing a double play that Henderson called a "game-saver."
Tulowitzki homered off John Axford in an otherwise uneventful eighth inning before Henderson's "long" ninth sealed the win.
"We knew it was going to be a fairly long rain delay. So the guys came in ... guys that were coming up that inning, they got some swings before they went back out," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "So I don't know if you could say it was an advantage either way."
Brewers shortstop Jeff Bianchi, who had taken over for Segura, said the umpiring crew had no choice given the flooded infield.
"It was kind of dangerous," Bianchi said. "It was raining basically all night, and then it started coming down harder when we were about to take the field that half inning. They did the right thing. It just stinks that we had to wait two hours to get three outs."
Was it a tough call to go back to Henderson?
"I wasn't worried too much about that," Roenicke said. "There's guys that pitch both games in doubleheaders, so when you're throwing one inning, I'm not too worried about that."
"The only weird thing is that the batter's box was all clean, and the mound was clean," Henderson said. "It was like I was starting a game again."
The save was his 12th in 15 chances this season.
"It's just good to get wins any time for us right now," Henderson said.