Braves 3, Brewers 2: Hand falters in ninth

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

After Tyler Thornburg pitched seven strong innings Tuesday night, the Braves were able to break the tie in the bottom of the ninth inning and win on a walkoff single from Andrelton Simmons.

Win: Craig Kimbrel (4-3)
Loss: Donovan Hand (0-5)

HR: Jeff Bianchi (1)

MVP: Tyler Thornburg (.107 WPA)
LVP: Donovan Hand (-.370 WPA)

Fangraphs Win Expectancy Graph

The Braves and Brewers were just about even for 53 outs tonight.  Tyler Thornburg and Freddy Garcia both pitched well tonight and turned the game over to their bullpens.  Both bullpens were able to throw a scoreless eighth inning, but the Brewers were unable to match the Braves' scoreless ninth.  With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Andrelton Simmons singled and gave the Braves a walkoff win.

For a majority of the game, the Brewers offense was relatively stagnant with a few exceptions.  The first of which came in the third inning. Norichika Aoki doubled to right before a two-out single from Jonathan Lucroy allowed Aoki to score the first run of the game.

After keeping the Braves scoreless for the first three innings, Tyler Thornburg gave up a run in the bottom of the fourth.  Thornburg was able to collect the first two outs in relatively short order, but the Braves were able to score a run with two outs after Evan Gattis followed a Freddie Freeman single with an RBI double to center field to tie the score.

The Brewers quickly regained the lead on a leadoff home run from Jeff Biachi in the top of the fifth inning.  The home run was Bianchi's first of the season.

Thornburg was able to keep the lead until the sixth inning when the Braves strung a few hits together to tie the game back up at two.  After a Freddy Garcia strikeout, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton hit consecutive singles to bring up Freeman with two runners on base.  Freeman hit the Braves' third consecutive single to score the Braves second run of the game.

Thornburg was stellar tonight.  The Braves were only able to muster two runs in seven innings against Thornburg. For the fourth time in September, Thornburg pitched at least six innings and gave up two runs or less.  He was able to work around seven hits and a walk by striking out a career-high eight batters.  For a majority of the night, the Braves just weren't able to figure Thornburg out.

After Thornburg left after the seventh inning and Brandon Kintzler worked a scoreless eighth, the Brewers turned to Donovan Hand to work the ninth and it didn't go well.  Justin Upton singled to start off the inning, but Hand responded relatively well.  He got Freeman to fly out to center and then Gattis grounded to Gennett, but unfortunately Gennett was unable to field the ball cleanly and the Braves inning continued.  Hand then collected the second out of the inning, but wasn't able to collect the third when Andrelton Simmons singled to center and drove in the game-winning run.

The Brewers will be back in action tomorrow in the final game of their three game series in Atlanta.  Kyle Lohse will start for the Brewers and will look to improve on his last start in which he lasted only five innings against the Cubs.  The Brewers will be up against Paul Maholm, who will be making just his second start after missing a few starts due to a tender elbow.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m.
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