5 observations from Braves’ loss to Brewers

ExploreRonald Acuna pinch-hits after missing 3 games

1. The game appeared uncompetitive when the Brewers built their lead to 8-0 in the sixth inning. But the Braves rallied for seven runs on just three hits in the seventh, aided by two walks and defensive breakdowns in the Milwaukee infield. A grand slam by Freddie Freeman capped the rally.

“It happened very fast,” Braves third baseman Austin Riley said. “That’s just baseball sometimes. It surprises you in so many ways. And Freddie going up there and hitting a grand slam, that’s huge.”

Credit: Morry Gash

Credit: Morry Gash

2. Braves starting pitcher Huascar Ynoa, who had allowed only four runs (three earned) across 24-1/3 innings in his previous four starts, surrendered five runs on nine hits in 4-1/3 innings this time. The Brewers put runners on base against him in every inning, and the Braves trailed 5-0 when he left the game in the fifth.

“I just felt like some pitches weren’t going my way for falling in the spots that I wanted them to,” Ynoa said through an interpreter, “but at the same time you have to give credit to the hitters on the other team. … You have your good days, and you have your bad days, and you learn from the bad days.”

3. It wasn’t a good day for the Braves’ bullpen, either.

Unable to hold the deficit at 5-0, Jesse Biddle allowed three runs in the sixth inning. The Brewers got only one hit in the inning, a bunt single, but Biddle walked three consecutive batters on a total of 12 pitches. One run scored on a passed ball, one on a groundout and one on a wild pitch.

Then, after the Braves cut the deficit to 8-7 in the seventh, the Brewers scored two runs in the bottom of the inning. Both were charged to Josh Tomlin, although they were driven home by a single against Sean Newcomb.

“In the middle there, we didn’t do a real good job of damage control to give ourselves a chance,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. He also said: “We don’t second-guess anything we did today.” In response to questions about the situations in which he used relievers Biddle and Tomlin, Snitker noted the bullpen had several pitchers unavailable.

“Everybody in the bullpen has got to share (the) load, because we cannot keep using the core group of guys and have them (through the season),” Snitker said. “They’re all going to have to step up and do it. ... The guys that are down there, they’ve got to do their job. And if they don’t, then it hurts a comeback like this. But we’ve got to use everybody. We’ve got too much (of the season) left.”

4. Riley had another impressive day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with three walks. That raised his batting average to .291 and his on-base percentage to .405.

“You never try to look at the stats and everything during the season (because) all you’re worrying about is trying to win ballgames,” Riley said. “But it is encouraging. It’s still a long season. I have some things to work on.”

Facing Brewers closer Josh Hader with two out in the ninth inning, Riley kept the game alive with a seven-pitch at-bat that resulted in a single to left field on a slider after fouling off four pitches. The wild game ended when the next batter, William Contreras, struck out against Hader with two runners on base.

Brewers 10, Braves 9 (box score)

5. The game marked roughly the one-quarter point in the Braves’ season. They are 19-21 and still haven’t been above .500, but are only two games out of first place in the National League East. The division-leading New York Mets will arrive at Truist Park on Monday for the start of a three-game series. The Mets dropped to 18-16 by being swept in a three-game series at Tampa Bay over the weekend.

He said it

“It was great to see the guys keep coming back and having good at-bats and getting big hit after big hit. That was awesome.” – Brian Snitker on the comeback attempt from an 8-0 deficit

By the numbers

11: Home runs this season by Freddie Freeman after hitting two over the weekend, including Sunday’s grand slam. The Braves have the top two home-run hitters in the National League at the moment, with Freeman one behind Ronald Acuna’s 12.