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Brewers no match for Braves offense, can’t avoid the sweep in 8-6 loss

It was as back and forth as one will see, but the Brewers can’t come out on top

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The quality of this Milwaukee Brewers team has been tested across the last three weeks. Today concludes 18 games in a row against teams that have a combined winning percentage above .500, and 22 against contending teams now that the Cubs have found themselves within four games of the NL Central lead. To date, this is their most brutal stretch of the season.

To finish the tough stretch, the Brewers got to face the Atlanta Braves, the best team in all of baseball. Having faced the Braves in six of their last nine, they got to see what a World Series contender looked like up close. Their offense rose to the challenge, putting up an offensive output that hasn’t been seen across three games yet since the All-Star break. However, the Braves offense was just too much, as they completed the sweep over the Brewers on Sunday, winning 8-6.

The story on Sunday was similar to the entire series: The Brewers would get the lead, and then almost instantly lose it. In the first, the Brewers got a few men on thanks to a walk from Christian Yelich and a base hit from William Contreras. With men on the corners and two outs, a wild pitch from Braves starter AJ Smith-Shawver allowed Yelich to score the first run of the game.

The Braves didn’t wait long to leapfrog the Brewers. In the bottom of the first, Ronald Acuna Jr. got on with a base hit, and two batters later, Austin Riley hit his 24th home run of the year, giving the Braves a 2-1 lead. Their two runs in the first were their 108th and 109th runs in the opening frame of the season, an average of more than one run an inning to open up the game.

Brewers fans saw a sight that they hope to see a lot of down the stretch at the top of the third. First, Yelich tied the score with an opposite-field home run, his 16th of the year. Two batters later, the Brewers got the lead back, this time thanks to a home run from their newest addition to the lineup Carlos Santana.

Their 3-2 lead would quickly disappear again in the bottom of that third inning. Acuna Jr. knocked another base hit, and Riley got on with a walk. The NL home run leader Matt Olson added to his lead while giving the Braves the advantage on the scoreboard, hitting home run number 34 to give the lead back to the Braves, 5-3.

Both pitchers, Smith-Shawver for the Braves and Colin Rea for the Brewers, settled in a bit after the high-scoring first three innings. Smith-Shawver would exit the game after five innings, allowing just three runs. Once the Braves went to the bullpen, the Brewers went back to work. Andruw Monasterio and Brice Turang each got on with singles, and Blake Perkins loaded the bases with a walk. A bit of luck allowed the Brewers to tie the game, as it looked like Christian Yelich had hit into an inning-ending double play, but first baseman Matt Olson misplayed the grounder at first, limiting the Braves to just the one out at first and allowing the Brewers to cut the deficit to one run.

William Contreras then did something the Brewers had struggled mightly to do over the last two weeks: produce with runners in scoring position. A double in the gap brought in Turang and Perkins, giving the lead right back to the Brewers at 6-5.

Just as was the case the previous two times the Brewers got the lead, they gave it right back. This time, it was for good. With Hoby Milner now pitching, Marcell Ozuna hit home run number 22 to tie the game at 6-6. With the game still tied heading into the eighth, Matt Olson made it a two-home run game for himself, hitting a two-run home run off the otherwise strong Joel Payamps. The 8-6 score would end up being the final, completing the sweep for the Braves.

In three games against the Brewers, the Braves scored 29 runs. According to Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that’s the most they had given up in a three-game series since 2019. They slashed as a team .406/.439/.802, and the Brewers had the lead today for about 20 minutes in the 150 minutes of play. They will try to get back on the winning side tomorrow against the Nationals, with first pitch at 6:05 p.m.