MILWAUKEE -- Aside from Saturday's 15-run deluge in the desert, the Brewers have had a hard time scoring runs since sending cleanup hitter Jonathan Lucroy to Texas. Chris Carter helped out Wednesday night with one big swing.
Carter's go-ahead, three-run home run capped a four-run third inning before Chase Anderson and four Brewers relievers made the lead hold for a 4-3 win over the Braves at Miller Park.
Freddie Freeman hit a pair of solo homers for the Braves, who lost starter Joel De La Cruz to a knee injury after four innings, and lost a ballgame for the first time in five days. It was the Braves' second loss in their last eight games.
"We came back and made it a game," Freeman said after the Braves fell to 25-25 over their past 50 games. "Over the past two months, that's the way we've been playing. We're never out of it, no matter how far we're down early in the game."
The Brewers snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the fourth time in Anderson's last four starts. He allowed two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings, pitching with a lead after Ryan Braun's tying RBI single and Carter's three-run homer gave the Brewers a 4-1 advantage in the third. Braun has 12 RBIs in eight games this month, and has driven in at least one run in five of those games.
"Two runs or less, that's the goal each and every time out. It's good to actually produce that, and give the team a chance to win," Anderson said. "Carter came up big with that home run, and I just tried to keep the lead right there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Home cooking: Carter's easy swing against De La Cruz in the third produced a go-ahead fly ball that left his bat at 107 mph and traveled 442 feet to center field, according to Statcast™. Of his team-best 26 homers, 19 have come at Miller Park, pushing Carter past the Rockies' Nolan Arenado and the Indians' Mike Napoli for the most home runs in home games this season.
"We have been scuffling to score runs. The three-run homer cures that," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "You almost expect it from Chris. It was in an important spot, certainly. It has been tough for us at this point, stringing together some hits and walks to get a rally going."
Double your pleasure: Freeman answered Carter's monster shot when he opened the fourth inning with a home run that traveled 436 feet with an exit velocity of 106 mph according to Statcast™. The Braves first baseman's leadoff homer in the eighth inning provided him his second multi-homer game of the season and eighth of his career. He has now hit at least 20 homers in four of his first six full big league seasons, but this marks the first time he's reached this mark since 2013.
"During my [batting practice] the past few days, I've just been trying to hit hard line drives up the middle and then the last couple rounds I try to put some extra carry to it," Freeman said. "I felt like I had been jumping out right when the pitcher was releasing the ball. So, I've been trying to let the ball get a little deeper and obviously, it's been paying off." More >
Sweet relief:Blaine Boyer helped Anderson evade damage in the sixth inning, Carlos Torres pitched a scoreless seventh, Corey Knebel held the lead in the eight despite Freeman's second homer of the night, and Tyler Thornburg pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to convert his second save chance since the Brewers traded closer Jeremy Jeffress to Texas along with Lucroy. Those relievers combined to allow one run on three hits in 3 2/3 innings to hold the Brewers' 50th victory of the season.
"Each guy is kind of unique in it,' Counsell said. "Each guy has to do what he's good at. It is going to be different for each guy. You can't ask Blaine to be a big strikeout guy. That's not his strength. His strength is early count contact." More >
Painful exit: De La Cruz labored through the four-run third inning and then ended a perfect fourth inning by taking Orlando Arcia's line drive off his right knee. The right-hander was forced to exit and undergo X-rays which were negative. The Braves bullpen surrendered two hits and held the Brewers scoreless over four innings, but the early deficit proved to be too significant to overcome. Atlanta's relievers have worked 13 scoreless innings during this series. More >
"We had a couple shots, but it's tough when you lose your starter that quick," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I was trying to stay away from that, but they did a great job of holding the game in check and giving us a chance."
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Atlanta will send Roberto Hernandez to the mound for the series finale, which is scheduled to start Thursday at 2:10 p.m. ET. Hernandez, who was formerly known as Fausto Carmona, made his second debut on Saturday, allowing three earned runs over five innings against the Cardinals.
Brewers:Matt Garza rides a streak of three consecutive quality starts into the 1:10 p.m. CT series finale. Garza is 0-4 with a 4.93 ERA in six career starts against Atlanta and has held players currently on the Braves' roster to a .217/.280/.333 slash line in 120 at-bats.