Offense goes cold as Braves fall to Brewers

Offense goes cold as Braves fall to Brewers

Offense goes cold as Braves fall to Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Once again, the Braves' offense struggled on Tuesday night at Miller Park. And once again, the Brewers took advantage of a big seventh inning en route to a 5-0 victory.

The Braves, who arrived in Milwaukee on a five-game winning streak, now go into Wednesday's series finale needing a win to avoid being swept for the first time since June 11-13 by the Yankees. They will need to break out the bats -- especially with runners on base -- to get it done after scoring just one run on 15 hits in the first two games.

Though they did not have as many opportunities to miss on Tuesday as Monday, the Braves still went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position while stranding six runners on base.

"We've got to keep swinging," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "We scored one run yesterday and none today, but if we go out tomorrow and win the ballgame, we go 4-2 on the road trip. And we'll take that."

After giving up a home run to Rickie Weeks on his fourth pitch of the game, Tim Hudson was dominant through the sixth, allowing just two more hits and a walk to that point. Hudson retired 10 in a row and 11 of 12 beginning with the last two outs in the third.

But the seventh was the turning point for the second straight night.

"It was just one of those innings that things fell their way and we really didn't have a whole lot of luck go our way that inning," Hudson said. "A couple hits that probably could've been outs, a couple close calls that could've probably gone our way."

A leadoff single to shortstop by Aramis Ramirez -- which was a close call at first base -- sparked the offensive outburst. The Brewers added three more hits in the inning, including an RBI double by Norichika Aoki that knocked Hudson out of the game.

Hudson gave up four runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings, with four strikeouts and one walk.

"To give up that many runs, especially late when their guys are really putting up some good innings against us, it's pretty frustrating," Hudson said. "You've got to tip your hat to those guys over there. They were making some pitches."

Hudson lost for the second time in three September starts after winning seven straight decisions over his previous 10 starts. But outside of a rough stretch in the seventh inning, the right-hander was impressive against the Brewers.

"I thought Huddy was nails," Gonzalez said. "That seventh inning got a little crazy ... but again, the bottom line is we didn't swing the bats."

Four runs were more than enough for the Brewers, as starter Marco Estrada gave up just four hits and one walk while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings.

With four balls hit to the warning track, the Braves had some hard hit outs against Estrada. But they could not string any hits together to do any damage.

"Once I saw Rickie hit that home run, I was like, 'All right, let's just keep it there. I'll give them as many innings as I can,'" Estrada said. "When I saw later in the game they started getting [to Hudson], that was fun for me. He's a good pitcher and did well, maybe just got a little tired toward the end."

Following Estrada, the Milwaukee bullpen retired seven of the final eight Braves batters to shut the door, and Ramirez added another run with a solo homer in the eighth.

Whereas the offensive struggles in Monday's series opener came after getting runners on base, the Braves could not even do that much damage Tuesday night.

No more than one runner reached base in any inning, and just once -- when Andrelton Simmons reached second following a sacrifice bunt in the third -- did the Braves have a runner in scoring position.

As hot as the Braves were, the Brewers are even hotter, picking up their 17th win in 22 games Tuesday night.

"They're playing well right now," Jones said. "We've just got to try and salvage this series and salvage a winning road trip tomorrow."

Jordan Schelling is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.