Braves 7, Brewers 4
ATLANTA (AP)—It’s difficult to remain in contention for a National League playoff spot while carrying the league’s worst home record.
The Atlanta Braves hope more success at home will push them closer to the top spot in the wild-card race.
“Maybe we can get on that streak we keep talking about,” manager Bobby Cox said.
“We want to get back in this thing. That’s what we’re here for. We’re going to battle down to the end.”
The Braves, who improved to 25-31 at home, are six games behind Cincinnati in the wild-card race. The Reds beat the Phillies 7-5 in 11 innings Sunday.
By winning two of three from the Brewers, the Braves won their first home series since winning three of four from the Reds July 6-9 at Turner Field. Still, the Braves were only 3-3 in the homestand.
“We know that playing .500 baseball from here on out is not gonna cut it,” McCann said.
“We have to win every series. We have to win or go home. We all know that. I just see the fight in our leaders. We have the team; we’re capable of doing it.”
Tony Graffanino hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh to help the Brewers rally from a 4-1 deficit to tie it, but his error in the bottom half helped the Braves take the lead with three unearned runs.
Marcus Giles led off the seventh with a single. Edgar Renteria followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt that first baseman Prince Fielder handled cleanly. Graffanino dropped Fielder’s throw for the error, allowing Giles to advance to third.
“I kind of lost it a little bit,” Graffanino said of Fielder’s throw. “It was low, and I was trying to get it. I expected it high. … Bottom line, I should have caught it.”
Jones then flied out to the wall in left against Matt Wise (5-6), giving the Braves a 5-4 lead. One out later, McCann’s 15th homer drove in Renteria for a 7-4 lead.
“That play set up a three-run inning,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said of Graffanino’s error. “If we made that play, they probably wouldn’t have scored anything in the inning.”
Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances with Atlanta, and his 22nd in 25 opportunities overall.
Braves starter Tim Hudson, who pitched seven shutout innings in a 3-1 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday, was not as sharp Sunday. He allowed two or more baserunners in five of seven innings but Atlanta still led 4-1 after six.
Hudson was charged with three runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.
“It was a little bit of a bend but don’t break philosophy out there today,” Hudson said.
Reliever Tyler Yates did not record an out, giving up two walks and a two-run double to Graffanino.
Milwaukee starter Tomo Ohka was hurt by sudden control problems with two outs in the third. Diaz led off the inning with a single to right and moved to second on Hudson’s sacrifice bunt.
After Giles hit a flyout to right, Ohka walked Renteria and Chipper Jones to load the bases and then issued a third straight walk to Andruw Jones on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run.
McCann’s two-run single to right gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead.
The Brewers settled for one run after having runners on second and third with no outs in the sixth. Bill Hall led off with a single and moved to third on Graffanino’s single. Graffanino advanced to second on right fielder Francoeur’s throw to third.
Ohka gave up five hits and three runs in five innings. He walked three and struck out one.
Andruw Jones’ bases-loaded walk gave him 100 RBIs for the fifth time in his career. He needs one homer for his seventh 30-homer season. … The Brewers, who swept three games from the Braves in Milwaukee in April, finished 4-2 for their first season series win over Atlanta. … LF Gabe Gross threw Andruw Jones out at second in the fifth inning as Jones tried for a double on a ball that hit the left-field wall.
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