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Milwaukee Brewers kick away chances at victory, fall to Braves 5-4

Physical and mental errors, men left on base prove too much

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Mike Foltynewicz (5-5); LP: Jimmy Nelson (5-4); Save: Arodis Vizcaino (1); Homeruns: Mil - Keon Broxton (12); Atl - Brandon Phillips (6)

Box Score

The Brewers allowed two of the five Braves runs to score with defensive lapses, and lost the potential tying run at third for the first out in the top of the ninth, falling a run short to the ex-Boston-ex-Milwaukee-now-Atlana Braves.

Jimmy Nelson wasn’t nearly as sharp as in his last start, which was a complete game, allowing a homerun to the second batter he faced (Brandon Phillips). He then walked Nick Markakis on four straight and gave up a sharp single to ex-Cardinal Matt Adams. Nelson enticed an easy double play ball from Tyler Flowers to Sogard, who’s accurate flip to second was caught and then dropped on the transfer by Orlando Arcia.

Adams was originally called out, but replay showed that Arcia lost the ball before he touched second, so all runners were safe, the second run was in, Flowers had an RBI, and Nelson had a second earned run. You can’t assume a double play, so there was no error there. Of course, to get a double play you need to get the first out, and that was an error - but since you couldn’t assume the next out the run was earned. Aren’t all errors an assumption that an out would have been made without the miscue? Whatever.

Milwaukee left five on base in the first three innings, aided greatly by six strikeouts against Braves’ starter Mike Foltynewicz. They fanned twice more in the top of the fourth, but in between them Keon Broxton launched another bomb, this one to center and well over the Sun Trust Park wall - Keon’s twelfth homer of the year. Jimmy Nelson added a two out single so that the Brewers could leave another runner on base.

The teams then slogged through a couple of innings of heavy rain, and Nelson couldn’t execute his pitches in the bottom of the fifth as the Braves used three hits and a walk to plate two more and move to a 4-1 lead. That was Jimmy’s last inning, and he ended with four earned runs on six hits and two walks in his five innings. He struck out eight Braves.

The Brewers got one back off of ex-Brewer Sam Freeman (lots of ex-s tonight) in the top of the seventh. Eric Sogard was hit squarely in the back of the hip with one down, went to second on a slow roller from Eric Thames, stole third, and came in on Domingo Santana’s base hit up the middle. But Milwaukee gifted a run back to the Braves in the bottom half of the inning. In his second inning of relief work, Brent Suter struck out the first two hitters before allowing a base hit to Danny Santana. A bouncer to first ate up Eric Thames, and he whiffed on it, allowing Santana to go to third. Dansby Swanson then lined an 0-2 fastball over the heart of the plate into right, and the Braves were back up by three, 5-2, on the unearned run.

Milwaukee closed the gap in the top of the eighth. Walks to Manny Pina and Broxton, surrounding a pop-out by Hernan Perez, set the table for Arcia, and Orlando cleaned things up with a double down the leftfield line, scoring both runners. Lewis Brinson was hit on the pinky finger of his left hand to put runners on first and second. Jesus Aguilar pinch hit for Sogard, probably meaning that Eric’s back had tightened up on him. Aguilar’s shot down the third base line was backhanded by Johan Camargo and turned into an around the horn double play to end the threat. 5-4 Braves.

After a 1-2-3 bottom half of the eighth by Carlos Torres (no, really!), Eric Thames led off the top of the ninth with a double into the rightfield corner. He tried to advance to third on a sharp groundball from Santana to shortstop Swanson’s left, but he was cut down at third - Santana to first on a fielder’s choice. Conventional wisdom has a baserunner not advancing on that play, but it was a very good play by Swanson to get Thames, and if he had made it, Travis Shaw’s flyball into the leftfield corner - caught on the warning track for out number two - would have tied the game. Santana tagged and got into second on Shaw’s flyball. Pina’s soft liner was grabbed off the ground by Swanson to end the ballgame. The Brewers finished the night with ten left on base.

A Cubs’ 2-0 loss to the Marlins keeps the Brewers in first by 1½ games at 40-36. Tomorrow the Brewers will send Matt Garza (3-3, 4.42) against knuckle balling octogenarian R.A. Dickey (5-5, 4.91) for the Braves (35-38). Game time is 3:10 P.M.

Forty two is an octogenarian, isn’t it?