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Brewers hold off Braves 5-4

The Brewers do all their damage in a five-run 3rd inning to extend their winning streak to 5 games

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers
Jesus Aguilar hits his 20th homer
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Freddy Peralta (4-1); LP: Mike Foltynewicz (6-5); Save: Corey Knebel (11); Homeruns: Atl - none; Mil - Tyler Saladino (4), Jesus Aguilar (20)

Five in a row Box Score

Freddy Peralta had another good start in his great run to start his Milwaukee Brewers (53-35) career, going six innings and allowing just one run (earned) on three hits and three walks, with six strikeouts. He out-dueled the Atlanta Braves’ (49-38) ace Mike Foltynewicz, although things got hairy late.

Once again, the Braves’ offense came out of the gate hot, collecting a walk and two doubles from their first three hitters - but just one run due to an out on the bases. Ender Inciarte walked and Ozzie Albies doubled him to third, and he scored when Brad Miller dropped Ryan Braun’s throw for an error at second. Albies, however was thrown out at third by Miller after he recovered the ball, and a double to left from Freddie Freeman was wasted when Christian Yelich (in center) ran down a ball in the left-center gap and Eric Thames (in right) robbed Kurt Suzuki of extra bases with a diving catch in right.

Freddy didn’t need defensive help for the rest of his start, mowing the Braves down on just one single over his final five frames. Nick Markakis had that hit, a one-out single in the fourth, but he was erased with an around the horn double play. Manny Pina did give him an assist, throwing out Inciarte trying to steal in the sixth.

Foltynewicz looked dominant in the first inning, hitting 100 mph and striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning. Then in the second Travis Shaw just missed one on a flyball to right, and Braun and Miller flew out to the wall in center on balls run down by Inciarte.

The third saw Milwaukee send nine batters up and score five of them - and none of it was cheap. Pina had the Brewers’ first hit, just over a leaping Dansby Swanson at short, and Tyler Saladino followed with a deep blast to left on a hanging slider, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Thames pulled a single through the shift, and Yelich took an inside slider off of the back knee (that had to hurt). Jesus Aguilar boomed a fastball off of the scoreboard in center, and suddenly Milwaukee was up 5-1.

The Brewer bats went silent after that, as Foltynewicz and Jesse Biddle retired everyone except Aguilar the rest of the way.

Jacob Barnes took the seventh and it went, well...poorly. Five batters, four singles, a walk, and an error in center on Yelich had the Braves within 5-4, runners on second and third, and nobody out. It became obvious that Josh Hader wasn’t available as Dan Jennings, he of the two inning save from last night, came in.

Jennings was awesome again. A strikeout, bouncer back to the mound, and groundout to third ended the inning with no further damage and a 5-4 lead into the seventh inning stretch.

Jeremy Jeffress gave up a one out single in the eighth to Markakis, then walked Suzuki (after a missed strike three call) to put two on, with the tying run on second. A sinking fastball to Johan Camargo was bounced up the middle and Saladino (on a shift) turned it into an easy 6-3 double play to preserve the lead.

That left the ninth to Corey Knebel, and when Swanson’s one out single was erased by another Pina caught stealing (call stands on review) the outcome seemed inevitable...a strikeout to end the game, which Knebel delivered.

Game Notes:

  • Aguilar had a double and single to go with his homer, giving him half of the team’s hits. Nobody else had a hit except in the third inning.
  • Pina’s caught stealing of Swanson in the ninth was not overturned, but probably should have been. None of the angles were definitive, however, and the call stood.
  • The Brewers fifth win in a row leaves them with a 2.5 game lead in the NL Central after the Cubs fell to the Reds earlier, 3-2.
  • Foltynewicz’ ERA went from 2.02 to 2.37
  • Jacob Barnes’ ERA went from 2.45 to 3.27
  • Peralta dropped HIS ERA from 2.28 to 2.05
  • To be fair, Barnes pitched in some bad luck in the seventh, but he did walk a batter with a four run lead and gave up the four hits and a walk on 12 pitches. Wow...that was fast!

Milwaukee can win the series with a win Saturday, in a 3:10 game start and on Fox Sports 1, but it will be tough. Brent Suter has been placed on the disabled list and his start will be taken by Aaron Wilkerson (0-0, 15.00). The Braves go with Anibal Sanchez (3-2, 2.89).