MILWAUKEE -- Matt Garza pitched into the seventh inning, and Domingo Santana snapped a slump with a pair of home runs and four RBIs Sunday as the Brewers avoided a sweep with a 4-3 win over the Braves at Miller Park.Santana hit a solo homer leading off the fifth inning
MILWAUKEE -- Matt Garza pitched into the seventh inning, and Domingo Santana snapped a slump with a pair of home runs and four RBIs Sunday as the Brewers avoided a sweep with a 4-3 win over the Braves at Miller Park.
Santana hit a solo homer leading off the fifth inning for the Brewers' first hit off Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz, then made Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson pay for a two-out error by smacking a three-run shot in the sixth for Milwaukee's first lead.
"We love it," said Garza of the Brewers' productive opening month at the plate. "Us pitchers have to do a better job of keeping runs off the board and we'll be in a lot better position. But that's coming. … The offense is having a good time; it's time for the pitching staff to pick it up."
Garza did his part by containing an Atlanta lineup that scored 21 runs on 32 hits in winning the first two games of the series. Garza retired 15 consecutive batters in one stretch while becoming only the third Brewers starter to work into the seventh. He struck out seven without a walk, and took the win after allowing three runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"This is a quality start, for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "For our starters, you go out there in the seventh inning, you're pitching a heck of a game. He was cruising. And you need starts like that."
Foltynewicz absorbed the loss despite a strong start in which only one of the Brewers' four runs against him were earned. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced and did not allow a baserunner until Ryan Braun, who left after the sixth with a sore right arm, reached on an error leading off the fifth.
"He was really on the attack today," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "The first run, you just have to tip your hat to that hitter. He was throwing really good and he got it all. The second homer, even after the error, it wasn't that bad of a pitch. It just kind of stayed out over the plate."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Costly error: Foltynewicz appeared through six innings with a 2-1 lead when Hernan Perez hit a routine grounder to Swanson at shortstop. The Braves rookie had a force at second base that would have ended the inning, but he bobbled the ball for his fourth error of the season. One pitch later, Santana connected for a three-run blast that put the Brewers up for good.
"I played it right," Swanson said. "It just came up. It is one of those things that sometimes that is just how it goes. Right when it was hit I knew we would have plenty of time at second. I went over there, tried to play it out front. It just came up, and obviously, I didn't."
The error ended what had been a strong series for Swanson, who went 3-for-10 with a home run and two walks at the plate and added a run-saving defensive play Saturday.
"That's going to happen," Snitker said. "Shoot, that kid has saved us so many runs. He's got us off the field with tough plays and everything. That's just one of those things. I don't think anybody feels any worse than he does."
In the dark: Braves slugger Freddie Freeman complained Saturday that he can't see the baseball at Miller Park, but he sure can hit it. His ninth-inning home run gave the Braves a victory in the series opener, and Freeman struck again in the top of the sixth on Sunday when he snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-out home run off Garza -- snapping Garza's streak of 15 men retired in a row. It was Freeman's ninth homer of the season.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
By going 13-13 in April, the Brewers equaled their win total from the previous two Aprils combined (13-32).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Brewers won a critical challenge in the seventh, when Nick Markakis initially was called safe on a grounder that glanced off Garza to second baseman Jonathan Villar. Upon review, that call was overturned and Markakis was out, a key ruling when Jace Peterson, Swanson and pinch-hitter Brandon Phillips collected successive two-out singles for a run that cut Atlanta's deficit to 4-3. With the tying runner at third base, Brewers reliever Corey Knebel induced an Ender Inciarte pop-out to end the threat.
Braves: Since making his last start, Julio Teheran has appeared as a pinch-hitter and a pinch-runner. He'll return to the mound to start Atlanta's series opener with the Mets at 7:35 p.m. ET on Monday. Teheran will be facing New York for the third time already this season having allowed just two earned runs over 12 1/3 innings in two previous starts.
Brewers: Third baseman Travis Shaw, who spent Sunday getting treatment for a swollen left hand suffered on a hit by pitch, hopes to be back in the lineup Monday in St. Louis, where the Brewers open a four-game series at 7:15 p.m. CT. Zach Davies draws the start for Milwaukee against the Cardinals' Michael Wacha.
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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Braves on Sunday.