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Braves reach .500 mark with blowout of Brewers

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The Braves exploded for seven runs in what turned out to be a controversial seventh inning. Those runs were more than enough for the Braves to beat the struggling Brewers.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

For six innings, the Braves and the Brewers were deadlocked at one run apiece, and it looked like it was going to be another one of those nights of paltry offense for Atlanta. Then the Braves decided that seven was a special number: Not only was it the seventh inning, but they scored seven runs in that inning as well, and what was a tight game to begin with turned into a laugher as the Braves ended up winning 10-1.

The Braves opened the scoring all the way back in the first inning of tonight's contest, and the rally to score the game's first run was started by a Cameron Maybin walk. Maybin proceeded to steal second base, and with two outs, Nick Markakis did what Nick Markakis has been doing a lot of lately: He hit a single. The single brought home Maybin from second base, and the Braves were on the board.

In the fourth inning, the Brewers were able to equalize in what turned out to be Julio Teheran's only 'bad' inning of the night. Julio started off the fourth inning by walking Carlos Gomez. Those problems were compounded when Gomez was able to make it all the way to third base after a single by Gerardo Parra. That meant that there were runners on the corners and nobody out with the ever-dangerous Ryan Braun at bat. Braun drove one to dead center, which is where Cameron Maybin caught it on the warning track. Gomez easily scored from third on the sac fly, but Maybin was able to unleash a laser beam of a throw that ended up beating Parra to second base to pick up the double play.

Just like that, the game was tied, but the bases were cleared, and Julio escaped the fourth inning with only minimal damage. As I said earlier, this ended up being the toughest part of Teheran's night, as he ended up bringing out his best performance of the season so far. Julio ended up going seven innings and struck out eight Brewers tonight. He also only walked one batter, and the run he gave up in the fourth inning was the only run he gave up on the night. Even if it's against a team that's hitting pretty lightly this season, it's still positive to see this type of performance from Julio after the start he made to the season.

Meanwhile, the game stayed tied until the bottom of the seventh inning, and that's when things got greasy. With runners on first and third base and one out, Christian Bethancourt came through and rapped a single up the middle, bringing home Jonny Gomes to break the deadlock. This ended up being Brewers starter Matt Garza's last batter of the evening, and he passed the baton to reliever Will Smith. Smith ended up hitting the first batter he saw, and shortly afterwards, Fredi Gonzalez asked for an umpire's attention. As it turned out, a foreign substance was spotted on Smith's non-throwing arm. The umpires then convened on Smith, took one quick glance at his arm, and promptly threw him out of the game.

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Now, this is baseball: It's widely accepted that there are a lot of guys who put foreign substances on the ball. With that being said, you can't be out there with globs of stuff just shining on your arm. That's way too obvious, and I honestly have no idea why Smith was mad. I could understand if the Braves' dugout went above and beyond trying to sniff it out, but c'mon, son: The man had the stuff globbed onto his non-throwing arm. It's as if he was daring someone to point it out.

The Brewers chose to put Neal Cotts in the game, and that's when the floodgates broke open for Atlanta. When Cotts entered the game, it was 2-1 Braves. By the time Brewers reliever Michael Blazek finally got the third out of the inning, the Braves had added six more runs to their tally, making it 8-1 as we headed into the eighth inning. Jace Peterson, Cameron Maybin, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis all hit RBIs to spread the Braves' lead further, and then the Brewers basically gifted the Braves their eighth run of the game when Hector Gomez softly tossed what should've been out number two into foul territory. Either way, the damage was done, and the Braves completely broke the game open at that point.

Thanks to a wild pitch and a Freddie Freeman single in the eighth inning, the Braves were able to get into double digits, and that's how the game would end: Braves 10, Brewers 1. Things started out slow for the Braves' offense, but once Garza left, Atlanta was able to absolutely batter Milwaukee's bullpen. The offensive explosion was a fair compliment to what was a solid night on the mound for Julio Teheran, and all in all, it was a great night for the Braves. The Brewers may have helped out by putting out a few examples of why they're currently in the NL Central cellar, but the Braves are in no position to be choosers. Atlanta's now back at .500, and they should have a pretty good chance of going over the .500 mark tomorrow night.

<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=1067587&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-05-21&team=Braves&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-05-21&team=Braves&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>