Kelly Johnson’s two-run homer fueled the early offensive uprising the Braves used to cool off the red-hot Brewers and claim a 5-3 win Monday night at Miller Park. Milwaukee had won its past eight games.
The Braves, who have won five of their past six games, tallied a pair of runs in each of the first two innings against Kyle Lohse, who was fortunate to only allow four runs while surrendering 11 hits over five innings. Lohse surrendered hits, including a pair of A.J. Pierzynski doubles, to nine of the first 14 batters he faced, but he did not allow a run after the second.
“He hasn’t been able to get on a roll,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Lohse. “He hasn’t had that start where it all kind of comes together. He’s had to fight his way through starts in almost all of his starts, especially recently.”
After gaining a 4-1 lead before he threw his first pitch in the second, Matt Wisler minimized the potential damage he encountered during the fifth and sixth. The Atlanta right-hander, who was making his fourth career start, limited the Brewers to three runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings.
“Getting those runs and jumping on them early kind of puts the momentum in our favor,” Wisler said. “It allowed me to go out there with a little more confidence knowing I didn’t have to go out there and shut them out.”
Johnson got the Braves rolling with his first-inning, two-run homer, which Statcast™ projected to travel 435 feet into the right-field seats. The veteran utility man added a second-inning RBI single to give him his second three-RBI game in the past three days. He entered Saturday with three RBIs over his past 59 at-bats. Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra got Milwaukee on the board in the first, smacking his eighth career leadoff home run into the right-center-field bullpen. It was his third leadoff homer this season. Parra, a potential trade candidate, entered Monday batting .335 (74-for-221) since April 25, ranking him behind only Bryce Harper (.365) and Paul Goldschmidt (.360) in the National League.
After a line drive single and stolen base by shortstop Jean Segura in the fifth, pinch-hitter Shane Peterson blooped a two-out single into left field, scoring Segura. It was only Milwaukee’s second of three runs. The Brewers had averaged over seven runs a game during their eight-game winning streak, never scoring fewer than four.
“I don’t think we had that big rally, necessarily,” Counsell said of Milwaukee’s offense. “We put a runner on base in a couple of innings, but we were still some damage away from making something happen.”
After retiring 13 of the first 15 batters he faced after Parra’s leadoff homer, Wisler retired just three of the final nine batters he faced. Andrelton Simmons’ strong pinpoint throw to the plate prevented Peterson from scoring a second run for the Brewers in the fifth. The Braves’ rookie starter followed Ryan Braun’s sixth-inning leadoff double with consecutive strikeouts, but then allowed Carlos Gomez’s RBI single. His effort was preserved by Atlanta’s bullpen, which worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Pierzynski doubled in his first two at-bats and later added a pair of singles to give him his second four-hit game of the season. The 38-year-old catcher had not recorded two four-hit games in a season since 2012.
Manny Banuelos will take the mound when Atlanta and Milwaukee resume he three-game series Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Banuelos completed 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Nationals in his Major League debut Thursday. He was forced to exit because of dehydration that cause his fingers and left calf to cramp. Thunder Radio will bring you the broadcast of Tuesday’s game beginning with the pregame show at 7.