Ryan Doumit's pinch-hit, two-run single capped a three-run seventh inning as the Braves rallied from three runs down to win in a bizarre game, which saw three calls overturned by replay and a lengthy review following a double-switch mishap.
So what was that dramatic seventh-inning rally like? Pretty cool, right?
"It was a nightmare," said Doumit, who had his second huge pinch-hit in five games -- he'd doubled in the ninth inning in the comeback win at St. Louis. "From a player's standpoint you don't like the waiting around trying to decide what's going on."
Replay was only part of the craziness of Doumit's seventh inning. There was an extended wait due to miscommunication in the Milwaukee bullpen, which was shorthanded not because of lack of arms, but lack of personnel to answer the phone.
Both Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz and bullpen coach Lee Tunnell were away at graduations, so chaos ensued as manager Ron Roenicke tried to play matchups in the seventh. The big snafu came with one out and runners on second and third with the Brewers clinging to a 4-3 lead. Roenicke signaled down to the bullpen and out came lefty Zach Duke. That's nice, except Roenicke wanted Will Smith.
When all was ironed out, Duke went back and Smith came out without warming up. He got the allotted eight pitches -- which was confirmed after a crew chief review -- then faced Doumit.
Finally, normality, right? Not for Doumit.
"It was a weird at-bat," he said. "I think I fouled balls off both my feet. It was a painful at-bat, but it had a pretty good result."
The result was a hard grounder into left-center on a 2-2 pitch from Smith for a two-run single. Doumit's hit scored Dan Uggla -- who had singled -- and Gerald Laird, who hustled out a double on a hard ground ball after it deflected off the glove of shortstop Jean Segura and rolled into short left field.
On a day when most of the pregame attention was focused on the health of starting catcher Evan Gattis, who did not play, the spotlight eventually shone on Gattis' backups Laird and Doumit. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez credited the two for their at-bats under pressure.
"They stuck their noses in there with some tough counts and facing some tough situations. They got big results," Gonzalez said. "They put the ball in play. You put the ball in play in those situations and funny things can happen."
Alex Wood got the win for Atlanta, while Brandon Kintzler, who faced one batter in the seventh, took the loss.
The game was a rematch of the April 2 pitchers' duel at Miller Park, in which veterans Aaron Harang and Matt Garza went toe-to-toe, each carrying no-hitters into the seventh before the Braves won on an eighth-inning Chris Johnson homer.
Neither starter got a decision on this night, as Harang allowed four runs (all earned) on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. It was only the second time all season he didn't pitch at least six innings and only his second start in which he's allowed more than two earned runs .
Harang, who has one win to show for his last five trips to the hill, put the leadoff man on in three of the first four innings -- all three scored -- and seemingly pitched out of the stretch all night, putting at least one runner on in every inning. But he found solace in his competing and keeping the Braves around.
"Today was just one of those days where I felt awesome in the 'pen and went out there and the ball wasn't doing exactly what I wanted it to do," he said. "I was falling behind and ended up having to come back over and try to throw strikes behind in the count. Some days you're going to have that, but I was able to battle and limit a whole lot of damage and still keep us there."
Garza, who similarly has one win over his last five starts, went 6 1/3, allowing four earned runs on five hits. As in the previous start against Atlanta, he had the Braves under control, limiting them to two runs on three hits over six. But he was lifted in the seventh after allowing a leadoff single to Johnson and, one out later, a single to Uggla. He would get a no-decision following the hits by Laird and Doumit.
Atlanta relievers Ian Thomas, Wood, David Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel allowed no runs and one hit over the final 3 2/3 innings, allowing the Braves to rally. Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 12th save.
Thomas made a potentially game-saving play after replacing Harang without even throwing a pitch. With Milwaukee up 4-1 and with runners at the corners, the rookie lefty picked Khris Davis off first base. He then intentionally walked Logan Schafer and struck out Garza to end the threat. Milwaukee would have one more hit and two more base-runners the rest of the game.
B.J. Upton started Atlanta's comeback in the bottom of the sixth, blasting his fourth homer of the season. Johnson added three hits and Jason Heyward had two hits and drove in a run for Atlanta, which has now won four of its last five after taking three of four in the series.
"That's a good ball club over there," Johnson said. "To take three of four from them is huge, especially the way we were playing the week before. So it was a big series for us, and nice to do it at home in front of our home crowd. We've had some good crowds lately. It's nice to see."