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Atlanta (16-18) 0001012239121
Milwaukee (15-19)000002000271

Conrad anchors offense as Braves get to Brewers 'pen, finish sweep

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- The Atlanta Braves found a familiar way to beat up the Milwaukee Brewers.

Brooks Conrad homered, doubled and drove in four runs while subbing for injured Chipper Jones, and the Braves roughed up Milwaukee's bullpen once again for a 9-2 win Wednesday and a three-game sweep.

"You need to have confidence and get a little swagger back," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

The Braves, a team not known for their potent hitting this season, outscored the Brewers 28-7 in the series.

Another late-game outburst by the Braves squandered a solid start by Yovani Gallardo and continued the Brewers' woes at home. They are 4-11 at Miller Park this season -- and after a day off Thursday, the Phillies are coming to town.

"I don't think anybody can explain why we've been having a tough time getting wins at home," Casey McGehee said. "We've got to figure out something."

The bullpen is a prime suspect, at least in this series. All three games were close early, only to turn into blowouts.

"It's been a little bit of an epidemic here, throughout the series," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "It's not just one or two guys."

But it hasn't helped that starters are having trouble going deep into games, wearing Brewers relievers down.

Macha said he asked closer Trevor Hoffman on Wednesday morning if the veteran closer needed to pitch an inning after getting little work of late. Hoffman said yes -- not for his own benefit, but because the rest of the bullpen is so worn down.

It showed again Wednesday.

Gallardo left after pitching the top of the sixth, and the Brewers tied the game at 2-all in the bottom half of the inning.

The Braves then jumped all over Brewers relievers, scoring a total of seven runs in the final three innings. It looked a lot like the previous two games, when the Braves turned close games into blowouts.

Jason Heyward hit a hard shot off first baseman Prince Fielder's glove for a go-ahead double in the seventh inning.

"But it wasn't just that we scored, it was that we scored often," said Matt Diaz, whose pinch-hit double set up Atlanta's two-run seventh inning.

Conrad hit a two-run homer in the eighth and two-run double off Hoffman in the ninth. Jones, who is trying to shake off a nagging groin injury, appeared as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and hit an RBI double.

"It's sure nice to bounce back the way we did this series," Conrad said. "We got the bats alive and some great pitching."

Derek Lowe (5-3) was untouchable early on, holding the Brewers hitless through the first four innings before allowing a leadoff single to McGehee in the fifth.

Lowe said he threw more changeups Wednesday than he had all year, and he is abandoning his past philosophy of pitching mostly away from hitters.

"I needed to try new things and today was the first day," Lowe said. "It was a lot better."

Gallardo pitched a strong six innings, giving up two runs and five hits despite being hit hard in the left leg by a batted ball in the fourth inning.

A shot off the bat of Heyward smacked into Gallardo's leg just above his ankle. After being briefly examined by the Brewers' medical staff, he threw a few warmup pitches and stayed in the game. Gallardo said his ankle was "a little sore" afterward but it didn't really affect his pitching.

And Gallardo said the Brewers' starters are aware that the bullpen is getting worn out.

"Obviously, the deeper we go into games, the better," Gallardo said. "And we're all trying to do that."

Despite the sweep, McGehee said the Brewers aren't panicking.

"We've got enough guys with enough backbone to not roll over and die," McGehee said. "We're going to keep fighting. We'll figure this thing out."

Notes

  • Milwaukee OF Ryan Braun (elbow) sat out. He is expected back in the lineup after an off day Thursday.
  • Braves manager Bobby Cox said shortstop Yunel Escobar is preparing to return from a leg injury and will likely play for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday before returning Saturday.
  • Fielder was charged with an error in the eighth.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Atlanta

B. Conrad
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Atlanta

D. Lowe
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 2
K 2
 
Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth, CF3000121 .167
Martin Prado, 2B5010013 .312
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
Jason Heyward, RF3311211 .301
Brian McCann, C4111112 .242
Troy Glaus, 1B4111103 .267
Eric Hinske, LF4021010 .333
    Takashi Saito, P0000000 .000
   a- Chipper Jones, PH1011000 .239
    Brandon Hicks, PR-SS0100000 .000
Omar Infante, SS-2B5120013 .278
Brooks Conrad, 3B5124013 .250
Derek Lowe, P2000010 .077
   b- Matt Diaz, PH1110000 .181
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   c- Melky Cabrera, PH-LF2000011 .196
Totals399129510  
a-doubled for Saito in the 9th
b-doubled for Lowe in the 7th
c-grounded out for Moylan in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jason Heyward (5, Parra), Eric Hinske (6, Gallardo), Chipper Jones (7, Hoffman), Brooks Conrad (3, Hoffman), Matt Diaz (3, Parra)
HR - Brooks Conrad (2, Villanueva)
SH - Nate McLouth (2)
RBI - Jason Heyward (28), Brian McCann (11), Troy Glaus (23), Eric Hinske (13), Chipper Jones (8), Brooks Conrad 4 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Heyward (12), Brian McCann (4), Troy Glaus (14), Eric Hinske (7), Brooks Conrad 2 (2)
SB - Jason Heyward (2, 2nd base off Gallardo/Zaun)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Prado-Infante-Glaus, Infante-Glaus
E - Omar Infante (5, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
Derek Lowe (W,5-3) 6622220 5.73
Peter Moylan (H,6) 1000010 2.57
Takashi Saito 1000100 2.57
Billy Wagner 1100120 1.50
WP - Billy Wagner (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 87-51, Peter Moylan 17-10, Takashi Saito 11-4, Billy Wagner 30-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 7-7, Peter Moylan 2-0, Takashi Saito 1-1
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 24, Peter Moylan 3, Takashi Saito 3, Billy Wagner 5
Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks, 2B3110100 .268
Jody Gerut, LF4010001 .204
Jim Edmonds, CF3111100 .261
Prince Fielder, 1B4010003 .254
Casey McGehee, 3B4021011 .323
Gregg Zaun, C4000013 .258
Corey Hart, RF2000210 .262
Alcides Escobar, SS4010013 .225
Yovani Gallardo, P2000012 .176
    Manny Parra, P0000000 .500
   a- Joe Inglett, PH1000000 .313
    Carlos Villanueva, P0000000 .000
    Trevor Hoffman, P0000000 .000
Totals3127245  
a-grounded out for Parra in the 7th
Batting
2B - Casey McGehee (9, Lowe)
RBI - Jim Edmonds (7), Casey McGehee (32)
2-OUT RBI - Casey McGehee (14)
CS - Jody Gerut (1, 3rd base by Lowe/McCann), Corey Hart (1, 2nd base by Lowe/McCann)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Prince Fielder (1, Misplayed grounder)
Milwaukee Brewers
Yovani Gallardo 6522360 3.06
Manny Parra (L,0-2) 1322000 4.42
Carlos Villanueva 1222031 3.26
Trevor Hoffman 1233210 12.00
Pitches-Strikes - Yovani Gallardo 108-63, Manny Parra 20-14, Carlos Villanueva 22-15, Trevor Hoffman 32-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Yovani Gallardo 3-9, Manny Parra 3-0, Carlos Villanueva 1-0
Batters Faced - Yovani Gallardo 26, Manny Parra 6, Carlos Villanueva 6, Trevor Hoffman 7
Game Information
Attendance - 30175
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - Field Culbreth