ATLANTA -- After escaping first-inning trouble, Braves knuckleballer R.A. Dickey found his groove and shut down 18 of the final 21 batters he faced in the Braves' 3-1 victory over the Brewers on Saturday afternoon at SunTrust Park.The Braves won their fourth straight, as Dickey was masterful on the mound.
ATLANTA -- After escaping first-inning trouble, Braves knuckleballer R.A. Dickey found his groove and shut down 18 of the final 21 batters he faced in the Braves' 3-1 victory over the Brewers on Saturday afternoon at SunTrust Park.
The Braves won their fourth straight, as Dickey was masterful on the mound. He scattered five hits and issued one walk, while striking out six batters in seven innings. According to Statcast™, Dickey threw 92 knuckleballs and registered 16 called strikes.
"[The knuckleball] wasn't as good as the movement that I had the last three games, but I had a good enough one to change speeds," Dickey said. "It was in the strike zone a large percentage of the night, and those things add up to a pretty good outing."
Dickey got all the run support he needed on Brandon Phillips' go-ahead two-run homer in the third inning. Phillips went deep for the third straight game, besting Brewers starter Matt Garza, who went six innings and allowed three runs.
Garza has dropped four of his last five decisions, and he owns a 6.91 ERA in those outings. He didn't get much help from his offense, as the Brewers struck out 10 times. They lead the National League with 738 strikeouts.
The Brewers' trio of Domingo Santana, Eric Thames and Travis Shaw came into the game with 40 home runs. However, those three were neutralized by Dickey and combined to go 2-for-11 with four strikeouts.
"We didn't have that many swings and misses the first time through the lineup," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "As we went through the lineup, the swings and misses started increasing, so I think [Dickey] got a better feel for making it move, and we didn't have that many answers."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Dickey's two-step: The Brewers loaded the bases in the first inning with two singles and a walk, but they were unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position. Dickey pitched around an RBI fielder's choice from Hernan Perez and a balk by striking out Jett Bandy to end the frame. The Brewers could only get one more runner in scoring position for the remainder of the game.
"I thought in the first he was pretty good, but he just kind of hit some bats," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. "After that, he did a good job keeping it clean and getting some strikes."
Bullpen protectors: The Braves' bullpen didn't allow a run after Dickey departed after seven innings. The combination of Jose Ramirez, Sam Freeman and Jim Johnson shut the door on a Brewers comeback attempt. The bullpen pitched around a hit and a walk, fanning four to end the game.
"Our whole bullpen has been really good," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "They are picking up each other and keeping us in games to allow us chances."
"Kind of weird, though, with [Johan Camargo] hitting that ball off the dirt with two strikes. It reminded me of Vladimir Guerrero-type stuff." -- Garza, on Camargo's fourth-inning double
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Phillips has hit six of his seven home runs at SunTrust Park after never hitting a homer in his home state. Prior to this year, Phillips had only 10 extra-base hits in Atlanta -- all doubles -- at Turner Field in 34 career games.
The Brewers' Nick Franklin, who did not start Saturday's game, was ejected in the first inning from the dugout by second-base umpire Jerry Meals after complaining about how long the Braves were taking to decide whether to challenge a close play. It was his first career ejection. More >
The Brewers issued a replay review at first base in the seventh inning after Jace Peterson was called safe by beating out an infield hit to shortstop Orlando Arcia. The call was upheld as replay showed Peterson touching the base before the throw arrived. The time of the review was 20 seconds.
Brewers:Zach Davies will get the ball for Milwaukee in the series finale on Sunday. First pitch is slated for 12:35 p.m. CT.
Braves:Julio Teheran takes the mound to wrap the three-game set at 1:35 p.m. ET on Sunday. Teheran has allowed eight runs (four earned) in his last three home starts.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Braves on Saturday.
Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Brewers on Saturday.