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Milwaukee at Atlanta

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Milwaukee (70-86) «1000200205110
Atlanta (92-64)000000000031

Estrada pitches seven strong innings, Brewers blank Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Mike Minor believes he will be sharp in October even though he hasn't won a start since Aug. 25.

"I don't think it's been great, and I think it shows," he said. "But it's one of those things that I thought I pitched pretty well all year, but right now I'm kind of struggling a little bit."

Minor gave up two home runs in the Atlanta Braves' 5-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.

The NL East champion Braves began the night with the league's best record and are one-half game in front of St. Louis Cardinals, who beat Washington 4-3 on Monday. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who did not play Monday, moved two games back.

Atlanta was shut out for the 16th time, second-most in the NL.

Minor (13-8) allowed eight hits and three runs and struck out six in seven innings. The left-hander, whom manager Fredi Gonzalez is considering to start the playoff opener next week, is winless in his last five starts.

"What I like is he gave us every opportunity to win the game," Gonzalez said. "Seven innings, and you hold the opposition to three runs, you've got a pretty good chance."

With six games left in the regular season, the Braves have the majors' best home record at 52-23, but Milwaukee led 4-0 in the eighth when Aramis Ramirez homered off reliever Anthony Varvaro.

Marco Estrada (7-4) gave up two hits, walked three and struck out six. He threw a career-high 115 pitches, 76 for strikes.

"I'd get ahead and once we had two strikes, my goal was just to try and bounce (a changeup) and see if I'd get a swing out of it," Estrada said.

The hits Estrada allowed were a triple by Andrelton Simmons in the second and single by Justin Upton in the sixth.

In his last eight starts since coming off the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, Estrada is 3-0 with a 2.26 ERA, a span of 51 2-3 innings.

Carlos Gomez gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the first, hitting the first pitch he saw from Minor for his 22nd homer.

The Brewers went up 3-0 in the fifth when Norichika Aoki doubled and scored on Jonathan Lucroy's 18th homer.

After Ramirez's 12th homer in the eighth, Milwaukee took a 5-0 lead when Sean Halton doubled off Varvaro, moved to third on Yuniesky Betancourt's infield single and scored on shortstop Simmons' throwing error.

Minor has allowed at least two homers in seven starts this season and is 0-3 with a 5.12 ERA in those outings. He gave up just three homers over an 11-start stretch from June 26-Aug. 25, but has been taken deep seven times in his last five games.

"I think I'm trying to throw more sinkers in and when I throw four-seamers away or try to go back and forth with them, there's a different release point and I think I'm just leaving the ball up," Minor said. "They're big-league hitters, so when they see that, they take advantage of it."

Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Gonzalez with two outs in the seventh. With a runner at first, Estrada hit Paul Janish in the left leg with a pitch, but Hernandez ruled that Janish, who leaned into the 89 mph fastball, did not attempt to get out of the way.

Rob Wooten pitched the eighth and Michael Blazek the ninth for Milwaukee.

Notes

Gonzalez said C Brian McCann took the day off to spend time with his family after his wife Ashley gave birth to their second child, a daughter. ... 1B Freddie Freeman, the first Atlanta player with at least 100 RBIs since Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur in 2007, was given the night off. Freeman has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games with six homers and 17 RBIs. ... Gonzalez said that Braves LHP Alex Wood will pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason. Wood is 0-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 19 2-3 innings as a reliever, and Gonzalez is concerned that LHPs Luis Avilan and Scott Downs are battling minor injuries and have struggled recently in late innings. ... Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said SS Jean Segura, out since last Wednesday with a strained right hamstring, did some running Monday and could be used off the bench by Wednesday. ... The Brewers snapped an eight-game losing streak at Turner Field.

 
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Even though the Braves have already clinched the NL East, Fredi Gonzalez is still managing all out. (USATSI)
Even though the Braves have already clinched the NL East, Fredi Gonzalez is still managing all out. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

A. Ramirez
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Milwaukee

M. Estrada
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 3
K 6
 
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF5110002 .287
Carlos Gomez, CF5111042 .281
Jonathan Lucroy, C4112010 .281
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4131000 .283
Khris Davis, LF4010011 .280
Sean Halton, 1B4110012 .253
   Robert Wooten, P0000000 .000
   Michael Blazek, P0000000 .000
Yuniesky Betancourt, 2B-1B4010000 .209
Jeff Bianchi, SS4000011 .236
Marco Estrada, P3020000 .219
   Scooter Gennett, 2B1000000 .321
Totals38511408  
Batting
2B - Norichika Aoki (18, Minor), Sean Halton (4, Varvaro)
HR - Carlos Gomez (22, Minor), Jonathan Lucroy (18, Minor), Aramis Ramirez (12, Varvaro)
RBI - Carlos Gomez (70), Jonathan Lucroy 2 (81), Aramis Ramirez (49)
2-OUT RBI - Jonathan Lucroy 2 (26)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Gennett-Bianchi-Betancourt
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Marco Estrada (W,7-4) 7200360 4.02
Robert Wooten 1100000 4.21
Michael Blazek 1000000 6.06
WP - Marco Estrada (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Marco Estrada 115-76, Robert Wooten 9-6, Michael Blazek 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Marco Estrada 7-8, Robert Wooten 2-0, Michael Blazek 3-0
Batters Faced - Marco Estrada 26, Robert Wooten 3, Michael Blazek 3
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jason Heyward, CF4000001 .248
Jordan Schafer, RF3000101 .248
Justin Upton, LF3010100 .261
Chris Johnson, 3B4000021 .327
Evan Gattis, C4000012 .230
Andrelton Simmons, SS2010112 .247
Joe Terdoslavich, 1B3000002 .215
Paul Janish, 2B3000011 .171
Mike Minor, P2000010 .169
   Anthony Varvaro, P0000000 .000
   a-Elliot Johnson, PH1010000 .206
   Kameron Loe, P0000000 .000
Totals2903036  
a-singled for Varvaro in the 8th
Batting
3B - Andrelton Simmons (6, M. Estrada)
SB - Jordan Schafer (22, 2nd base off M. Estrada/Lucroy)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Andrelton Simmons (14, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Minor (L,13-8) 7833062 3.22
Anthony Varvaro 1321011 2.76
Kameron Loe 1000010 7.46
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 96-65, Anthony Varvaro 15-13, Kameron Loe 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 5-10, Anthony Varvaro 2-0, Kameron Loe 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Minor 29, Anthony Varvaro 6, Kameron Loe 3
Game Information
Attendance - 19893
Game Time - 2:29
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Doug Eddings