Just three days after completing a sweep of the New York Mets, the sputtering Atlanta Braves were themselves swept by the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. The 8-2 loss ends the Braves road trip with a 3-3 record and back where they started with their 5 1/2-game Wild Card lead.
"We're lucky to be where we are," Chipper Jones said. "We're in the same position that we were at the beginning of the day. … I'd much rather be 5 1/2 games up than 5 1/2 games back."
In every game in the series, the Brewers had one big inning where they put up a crooked number. Down 2-0, the Brewers put up an eight spot in the fifth inning on Paul Maholm. Six of those runs were earned.
Rickie Weeks got the scoring started for the Brewers with a three-run homer off Maholm. Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy all tacked on consecutive singles before doubles by Travis Ishikawa and Yovani Gallardo resulted in five more runs. Maholm was pulled after Ishikawa's double; Maholm's 4 1/3 innings was the second time in three starts that he couldn't get out of the fifth inning.
"I can't say I like this place," Maholm said. "I'm kind of glad to be out of here and not coming back this year. And hopefully once next year and we're done with them."
Out of the Brewers' 17 runs scored in the series, 15 came in just three innings. They scored four in the seventh Monday, three in the seventh Tuesday and eight in the fifth Wednesday.
The Braves offense looked like it would finally produce when Jason Heyward hit a monster homer on a 3-0 count off Gallardo, but Gallardo allowed only three more hits to a struggling Atlanta offense that only produced one hit with runners in scoring position in the series. Heyward's home run was also the Braves' only extra-base hit of the series.
The only other run scored by the Braves came in the fourth inning when Dan Uggla hit into a double play with runners on the corners.
"We need to get our guys going offensively," Fredi Gonzalez said, "score some runs like we're capable of doing."
The Braves have an off-day Thursday before returning to Turner Field for a hugely important three-game series with the Washington Nationals, whom the Braves trail by 8 1/2 games in the NL East.
"Right now, we've got to try and win series," Heyward said. "The attitude doesn't change, because every day you come to the field and not think about the last game or the next game. [You are] thinking about that game, trying to win that one."
Despite the loss, Atlanta maintained their lead for the first Wild Card spot over the St. Louis Cardinals by 5 1/2 games.
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