What you need to know about the Braves’ 2-1 loss Friday to the Brewers in Game 1 of a National League Division Series in Milwaukee:
For starters …
The starting-pitching matchup of the Braves’ Charlie Morton against the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes delivered the widely expected duel. The Braves mustered only two hits in six innings against NL Cy Young Award candidate Burnes, who struck out six, walked three and was lifted for a pinch-hitter with the game still scoreless. The Brewers were held to two hits through the first six innings by Morton, who struck out nine, but took a 2-0 lead with no outs in the seventh on a long, loud, two-run homer to right-center by first baseman Rowdy Tellez, the last batter to face the Braves’ starter.
Hader in the ninth
The Brewers turned a 2-1 lead over to baseball’s most dominant closer, Josh Hader, in the ninth inning. Hader, who was 34-for-35 in save chances during the regular season, got in and out of trouble. After walking Freddie Freeman to open the inning and allowing a one-out single to Austin Riley, Hader got the second out when Adam Duvall grounded into a fielder’s choice and ended the game on a groundout to second base by pinch-hitter Orlando Arcia, a former Brewer.
Early threat wasted
The Braves, who scored four runs against Burnes in the first inning of a July 30 start, had a chance to do early damage again. Walks to the first two batters of the game, Jorge Soler and Freeman, and a passed ball put runners on first and third bases with no outs, but Ozzie Albies grounded into a double play on which Soler was thrown out at the plate. Burnes then struck out Riley to end the threat and didn’t allow another Braves base runner to reach scoring position in his six innings of work.
-- The Braves aren’t the only team that benefitted from in-season trades. The Brewers acquired Tellez, who threw out Soler at the plate in the first inning and provided all of his team’s scoring with the seventh-inning homer, from Toronto in July.
-- The Brewers turned to another member of their deep starting rotation when Burnes left the game. Adrian Houser, who started 26 games this season, came out of the bullpen in the seventh inning and retired five consecutive batters before allowing a pinch-hit home run to Joc Pederson with two out in the eighth. That cut the Brewers’ lead to 2-1.
-- Pederson’s home run was his 10th in postseason play, the other nine coming with the Dodgers from 2016-20.
-- With runners in scoring position, the Braves were 0-for-4 and the Brewers 0-for-1.
-- The first five hitters in the Braves’ batting order were a cumulative 1-for-17 with three walks and six strikeouts.
-- Home runs accounted for all three runs in the game.
Brewers 2, Braves 1 (box score)
How things change
Only 13 players on the Braves’ 26-man active roster for this year’s NLDS – half the squad -- were on the team’s 28-man roster for last year’s NLDS. Here are the 15 players from the 2020 NLDS who aren’t on the roster this time: pitchers Grant Dayton, Shane Greene, Chris Martin, Mark Melancon, Darren O’Day, Josh Tomlin, Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright; catcher Tyler Flowers; infielders Charlie Culberson and Pablo Sandoval; and outfielders Ronald Acuna, Nick Markakis, Marcell Ozuna and Cristian Pache.
Before Friday, the Braves hadn’t played a postseason game in Milwaukee since 1958, when the organization – then the Milwaukee Braves – lost World Series Game 7 to the New York Yankees. The Braves, who called Milwaukee home from 1953 through 1965, moved to Atlanta in 1966. The Brewers returned major-league baseball to Milwaukee in 1970. The Braves and Brewers had never met in a postseason series before this one.
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