The Braves once again lacked offense, which is why a poor inning doomed them in a 6-3 loss to the Brewers on Friday at Truist Park.

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Here are five observations on Atlanta (12-16) after the loss:

1. Spencer Strider pitched well for the Braves. When he left, they missed him.

In the sixth inning, the Brewers scored four runs and only needed two hits, both infield singles, to do it. Atlanta required three relievers -- Collin McHugh, Tyler Matzek and Tyler Thornburg, in order -- to complete the inning.

Matzek had a rough outing. He walked three of the four batters he faced. Dating back to Monday in New York, the lefty has walked five of seven batters he’s faced and has hit another.

One of Friday’s walks let in a run. Matzek threw 23 pitches, and all were fastballs.

“Just like offensive guys, (relievers) can struggle with things and feel and release point, rhythm,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “So hopefully we can just kind of keep working him in there and getting him back going again because we know what he’s capable of.”

The Brewers scored one run on a grounder that became a force out and another on a bases-loaded walk. They plated the final two on an infield single, and the second of those scored after Ozzie Albies, who made a great diving stop, fired an errant throw.

McHugh was charged with two earned runs and Matzek with another (one run was unearned).

THREE BRAVES HIGHLIGHTS FRIDAY NIGHT

2. The Braves collected only three hits, and two were home runs (Ronald Acuña and Dansby Swanson). They only took two at-bats with runners in scoring position and only left two men on base.

They couldn’t get much of anything going.

They struggled against Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer, who now has a 1.82 ERA this season.

“He’s got the little hopper on his fastball, too,” Snitker said. “He’s tough.”

3. Right after Acuña connected with the ball, he fell to the ground. The ball, however, still flew through the air as the crowd roared.

In the loss, Acuña blasted his first home run of 2022. It traveled 450 feet and left his bat at 112 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

“I knew I got all of it,” Acuña said through interpreter Franco García said. “I just fell because I slipped a little bit at the end afterwards.”

He is OK. No injury there. Just a ball that flew a long way.

This fourth-inning homer stood as the Braves’ only hit of the game until Albies singled in the seventh.

Acuña is only batting .207 since returning, but his at-bats have improved as he’s gained more of them.

Combined ShapeCaption
Braves pitcher Spencer Strider delivers to a Milwaukee Brewers batter during the fifth inning at Truist Park on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Braves pitcher Spencer Strider delivers to a Milwaukee Brewers batter during the fifth inning at Truist Park on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
Braves pitcher Spencer Strider delivers to a Milwaukee Brewers batter during the fifth inning at Truist Park on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

4. Ironically, it could be tougher to miss bats when a pitcher is trying too hard to miss them. That’s why Strider altered his approach and hasn’t tried to be as perfect.

“I’d say that you sort of have to have a passive-aggressiveness in this game,” Strider said. “No matter how good your stuff is, when you’re seeking something out, it usually is the hardest to come by. When you just trust it, move on from pitch to pitch and never let certain counts or certain situations get too big or too small or anything, then you usually stay right where you need to be in the middle, and things usually work out.”

Strider, who followed opener Jesse Chavez, was brilliant. His mastery has, to this point, helped deepen the Braves’ pitching staff.

Over four scoreless innings, Strider struck out eight Brewers, his career-high in the majors. Before this, Braves pitchers had struck out at least eight batters over an outing only four times this season: Kyle Wright did it three times and Max Fried did it once.

Strider’s fastball averaged 98.1 mph. He hit triple digits multiple times and topped out at 101 mph. This electric stuff allowed him to work around four hits, including two doubles, to keep the Braves within striking distance.

5. The Braves decided to use Chavez as an opener. Snitker said he could have gone out for a second inning had he been sharp in the first one. Ideally, the Braves wanted him to get through about five or so batters before they went to Strider.

Chavez allowed two runs, both on Rowdy Tellez’s double to the wall in center field. Adam Duvall has played well defensively, but seemed to not get a great read on this one and couldn’t make a play.

Brewers 6, Braves 3

Stat to know

5 - Entering Friday’s game, Brewers starter Lauer had allowed five earned runs over his first four starts. He held the Braves to two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings.

Quotable

“Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose. Tonight, it was our turn, but we’ll be ready to go out swinging tomorrow.” - Acuña on the loss

Up next

Braves lefty Max Fried will face Brewers righty Corbin Burnes, who is the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. Saturday’s game begins at 7:20 p.m.