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Braves fall 10-9 despite valiant comeback effort

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A seven-run seventh just wasn’t quite enough to complete the sweep

Atlanta Braves v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

There are a lot of ways to frame this recap. One could focus on a comeback that fell just short, as the Braves ultimately lost by just a single run. One could point out that this game really wasn’t all that close for most of its duration, and the Braves’ valiant efforts to narrow the gap were met by more runs being bled by the Atlanta bullpen. Another could focus on the horrorshow that was infield defense in this game, which played a large part in said comeback. Yet more still: the disappointing Ynoa-Peralta matchup, in which Huascar Ynoa did not succeed on the mound nor at the plate, while the Braves did absolutely nothing against a Freddy Peralta that seemed to pitch against type. In the end, however you choose to frame it, the Braves lost, and that’s that. They’re 19-21, two games back in the division, and headed back home to take on the Mets for the first time this season in a key series.

The pitching really let the Braves down in this one. Ynoa kept the Brewers off the board for the first two frames despite a couple of baserunners in each, but wasn’t so lucky in the third. Omar Narvaez started the frame with a single to center, and Lorenzo Cain hit a hard grounder that Austin Riley olé’d into a “single.” Ynoa almost got out of it by retiring the next two batters, but then struggled to throw a strike to Daniel Vogelbach for the second straight PA. Last time, in the second, he walked him on five pitches. This time, he fell behind 2-0, eventually battled to 3-2, and then threw a sinker (why???) over the plate that Vogelbach shot into right for a two-run double. The ball was hit hard, and it’s possible that an outfielder other than Ehire Adrianza could have caught the ball, but things are what they are and the Braves were down a couple of runs early.

The defense let Ynoa down in the third, as Kolten Wong reached on a two-out “single” that was really just a flub by Ozzie Albies. Next up, Narvaez jumped all over a 2-2 fastball that wasn’t up enough and drilled it off the base of the wall in right field. The Braves could have had a play on Wong as he came home, but Albies’ relay throw was airmailed, and it was 3-0 Brewers. In the fourth, Ynoa bid the game adieu, but not before Avisail Garcia tagged him for a two-run homer. In more or less the theme of this game, Ender Inciarte made an amazing leaping try in center and nearly robbed Garcia, but the ball was snared by the very tip of his glove and trickled out before Inciarte could snap it back over the wall. That was that, with a 5-0 deficit, Brian Snitker called on Jesse Biddle.

To this point, the Braves were beffudled by Peralta. “Fastball Freddy” basically threw a bunch of curves, changes, and sliders to nearly every batter the first time through, and the Braves were woefully unprepared for this flipping of the script. Some hitters saw more fastballs the second time through, but some didn’t. Peralta ended up throwing just 50 percent fastballs and even 13 percent changeups. From what I can tell, it was his highest changeup usage rate ever, and his second-lowest fastball usage ever. Combined with the fact that a Marcell Ozuna near-homer didn’t go far enough in center, and Jackie Bradley Jr. again robbed Ozzie Albies of extra bases, and the Braves were nearly no-hit. They finally got back-to-back singles in the fifth, when they were down 3-0, but Ender Inciarte and Ynoa himself couldn’t do anything and the inning ended with a whimper.

Jesse Biddle did not do much to make the game not-a-blowout. The bottom of the sixth featured a leadoff single, three straight walks with one out, two runs scoring on balls that got past William Contreras, and a run-scoring groundout. After six, the Braves were down 8-0.

And then, Peralta left, J.P. Feyereisen came in, and the Braves roared back to life. Dansby Swanson started the rally with an infield single. After two straight walks, the bases were loaded, and Inciarte unloaded them by rolling one up the middle. Then, things got bizarre. Brent Suter came on to reliever Feyereisen, and within the span of three pitches and back-to-back grounders, the double play tandem of Luis Urias and Wong acted like the ball was slathered in a disgusting, oily substance, failing to record an out on either of two potential double play balls. Up next was Freeman, and he drilled a first-pitch Suter curveball into center field for a grand slam that made it an 8-7 game. Four pitches, two defensive miscues, a grand slam, five total runs, and a one-run game.

So, a one-run game. Winnable, right? The Braves summoned... Josh Tomlin... from the bullpen. It was not a one-run game for long. A leadoff walk and a one-out single chased Tomlin after just nine pitches. The opposite of long relief is short not-relief. Sean Newcomb came on instead, hit the first batter he faced, and then gave up a two-run single to Cain. Seven steps forward, two steps back.

But the Braves kept creeping closer. With six outs left, they tagged Devin Williams for another tally, thanks to a single by Swanson, a steal of second that let him get to third thanks to a throwing error, a walk, and then, you guessed it! Another infield flub by Urias at short. Now within two runs, the Braves were unfortunately unable to capitalize. Inciarte dropped a bunt, but third baseman Pablo Reyes made a nice play to get him at first by a slim margin. Ronald Acuña Jr. hit in the pitcher’s spot with the tying runs in scoring position but struck out; so did Adrianza to end the frame.

Luke Jackson threw the first 1-2-3 inning for the Braves in the eighth, and it was Hader time, and the Braves’ last chance. And they really did have a chance. Freeman battled and battled, turning a 1-2 count around into a walk after three fouls and some good takes. After Ozuna struck out, Albies blooped one to right. That brought up Swanson, who got the Braves within one with a routine fly to center, but unfortunately, took them down to their last out. Riley, who was 1-for-1 with three walks to that point in the game, had a stellar at-bat that ended with a 110 mph barreled single after falling behind 1-2, but unfortunately, wasn’t hit where it could keep rolling and score the tying run. That brought up William Contreras, who had the big hit in that insane Braves-Phillies game, but alas, he could not replicate the mind-bending nature of that contest. Hader threw him three sliders, he missed three sliders, and that was that. See ya Monday.

A disappointing outing for Ynoa, as well as for Ozuna, who went 0-for-5 after a couple of good games earlier in the series. All eyes are now on the Mets, as the Braves head home to hopefully put their slow start behind them once and for all.