Carter, to his credit, didn't spend the evening eating ice cream and watching the Brewers' extra-inning loss to the Padres on TV. Rather, he spent it in the batting cage ironing out a wrinkle he discovered in his swing.
The extra work paid off in a big way Sunday, as Carter snapped out of his funk with three hits -- including his 11th home run of the season -- to power the Brewers to a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres at Miller Park.
"He was able to take a day, take some extra batting practice, find something and correct what he thought he was doing wrong," Counsell said. "I think that's an important sign of growth. You take something that you're struggling with, you understand it, and you're able to correct it."
On Saturday, Carter entered the game late as a pinch-hitter and went 0-for-2, putting him at 0-for-22 coming into the game Sunday. He struck out in the first inning against Padres starter Cesar Vargas but tagged Vargas for a one-out home run in the third, breaking the hitless streak and putting Milwaukee on the board with a 1-0 lead.
Carter singled in the fifth but was left stranded, then, with the game tied at 2-2 in the second, he came through again, with a double to the gap in left, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, and putting the Brewers ahead, 3-2.
"I think the biggest thing was just not getting hits in big situations like when runners were on base or the game was close," Carter said of his slump. "Those were the things that bothered me the most. It was nice to just get some hits and help the team win."
Brewers starter Zach Davies turned in his best effort of the season, holding the Padres to two runs while scattering three hits without a walk and striking out six over 6 1/3 innings of work.
He cruised through his first three innings, not allowing a single runner. Travis Jankowski lead off the fourth with a triple, then scored on Derek Norris' sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1. Davies struck out Matt Kemp, then allowed a two-out single to Brett Wallace and ended the inning when Melvin Upton, Jr. grounded into a force at second.
The next seven San Diego batters failed to reach against Davies but after Kemp struck out to open the seventh, Wallace tied the game at 2 with a solo home run to center, bringing Davies' day to an end.
"It was an inside fastball that caught more plate than I wanted to," Davies said of the home run pitch. "I felt like I was in the zone early, and that was something that I could build upon, knowing what I worked on prior to the start going into the game, attacking hitters and being aggressive toward guys."
Eight of Milwaukee's 11 hits came at the expense of Vargas, who managed to limit the damage by holding the Brewers to just two runs while striking out seven over five innings of work.
Both of those runs came via the long ball.
"They were just mistakes," Vargas said through a team translator. "Pitches that caught too much of the plate."
Jankowski and Wallace finished with two hits apiece for the Padres, who return to San Diego Monday having gone 4-3 on their seven-game road swing through Chicago and Milwaukee.
NOTES: San Diego optioned RHP Leonel Campos to Triple-A El Paso Sunday morning and recalled RHP Tyron Guerrero. Campos worked two scoreless innings and picked up the victory in the Padres' 8-7, 12-inning win Saturday night. Guerrero appeared in 11 games for El Paso, posting a 3.60 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 10 innings. ... Padres 1B Wil Myers was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of tightness in his left forearm. ... Brewers LF Ryan Braun took part in batting practice Sunday but was held out of the lineup for a second consecutive game because of a sore right wrist. Braun said he anticipated being available to pinch-hit and could be back in the lineup when Milwaukee opens a three-game series against the Cubs on Tuesday. ... Brewers manager Craig Counsell said no decision had been made on what to do with RHP Wily Peralta, who has struggled in his eight starts this season, going 2-4 with a 5.57 ERA and a MLB-high 1.99 WHIP.