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Dazzling defense secures Crew's comeback

Special to MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Inches often make the difference between a hit and an out, and the Brewers found themselves on both sides of that on Saturday.

While tied 1-1, two balls hit hard at Eric Thames in the third inning nearly cost the Brewers the game. Thames' first attempt was an impressive leap that knocked down a Freddie Freeman liner but likely turned it from a single to a double, and the second a ricochet that allowed Freeman to score.

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ATLANTA -- Inches often make the difference between a hit and an out, and the Brewers found themselves on both sides of that on Saturday.

While tied 1-1, two balls hit hard at Eric Thames in the third inning nearly cost the Brewers the game. Thames' first attempt was an impressive leap that knocked down a Freddie Freeman liner but likely turned it from a single to a double, and the second a ricochet that allowed Freeman to score.

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Video: MIL@ATL: Freeman moves hit streak to 13 with a double

But things evened out, and Ryan Braun, ranging to his right for a full-extension diving catch on a two-out ball off the bat of Ender Inciarte in the seventh, ultimately saved a run and allowed the Brewers to rally in the eighth for a 4-2 victory.

"You could feel the momentum swing a little bit, especially when it's the third out because everybody's fired up in the dugout," Braun said. "It felt like we needed something to change our momentum a little bit. Everybody can be as pumped up and try to create as much energy as they want in the dugout, but you need something positive to happen and it felt like it turned the momentum in our favor."

Offensively, that eighth inning rally was the most life the Brewers have shown at the plate all weekend. Immediately following the Braun catch, Christian Yelich reached on an error when reliever Jesse Biddle dropped a toss from Freeman on a grounder. From there, the Brewers teed off on Biddle, notching four hits, a fielder's choice and a walk to drive in three runs as all nine men went to the plate.

The big moment in that rally was a double from Mike Moustakas, allowing both Yelich and Lorenzo Cain to score. Catcher Erik Kratz delivered the other RBI knock, a one-out single off the glove of Dan Winkler.

Video: MIL@ATL: Moustakas belts a go-ahead 2-run double

"At that point, eighth inning, first and second and Moose up against a lefty and just a great piece of hitting, and Cain able to score from first base with his speed," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

That rally saved Wade Miley from being a tough-luck loser. Besides that unlucky third-inning run, Miley's only other blemish was a leadoff homer to Ronald Acuna Jr. Miley allowed the two runs on six hits and one walk over his six innings of work.

Following Miley's six innings, the Brewers got a shutout bullpen performance from Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader, the latter of whom threw two perfect innings for the save.

Video: MIL@ATL: Hader retires Culberson to seal 6-out save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lost in Braun's play and the eighth inning rally was Miley's first-inning Houdini act. After giving up the leadoff homer to Acuna, Miley gave up a hit and a walk to have men on first and second with no outs. But instead of folding, he got a flyout and induced a double play to Moustakas to escape without any further damage and maintain the tie.

"I knew it was first and second, had a big part of their lineup coming up, you just want to minimize as much as you can," Miley said. "Got lucky it was just one because they could've had me on the ropes. Moose made a big play right there, turning the double play to get me out of it."

Video: MIL@ATL: Moustakas makes a slick pick to start the DP

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
To make his run-saving catch in the seventh, Braun had to travel 58 feet in just 3.6 seconds. The ball had just a 19 percent catch probability, ranking it as a 5-star catch according to Statcast™.

"He made that catch, and I said, 'Uh, oh,'" Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I thought it was a double down in the corner as soon as he hit it. Then he sprawled out. In a game like that, that's a huge run. That saved them the ballgame."

HE SAID IT
"I don't know that it's too much of an exaggeration to say it felt like it was a season saver." -- Braun, on the team's win after two straight losses

Video: MIL@ATL: Kratz hits an RBI infield single in the 8th

UP NEXT
Chase Anderson (7-7, 3.81 ERA) takes the mound in Sunday's series finale against the Braves at 12:35 p.m. CT at SunTrust Park. He'll try to help the team steal a rare day game win. The Brewers are 4-14 on Sunday this year and 17-29 in day games. The team's .673 OPS in day games ranks fourth worst in the National League. Sean Newcomb (10-5, 3.15) will oppose Anderson.

Cody Pace is a contributor to MLB.com.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun, Wade Miley, Mike Moustakas