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Pitching implodes as Braves drop series finale to Brewers, 11-3

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The series finale did not go well for Atlanta.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

After just eight batters strolled into the box on Thursday afternoon, it was apparent that the Atlanta Braves were in for a long day at the office. More than three hours later, the team was set to leave Milwaukee with a split of the four-game set on the heels of an 11-3 loss in the series finale.

Brewers slugger Chris Carter began the damage for the Brewers with a 2-run blast against Braves starter Roberto Hernandez and, as you may expect, it was Carter that was the eighth batter of the game. For his 27th blast of the season, Carter deposited an offering into Milwaukee’s bullpen, and that was just the beginning of the downward trend for Atlanta.

Later, the Brewers were able to objectively “steal” the third run of the game, as the Braves caught Manny Pina stealing at second base, but allowed Keon Broxton to score from third on the play. Then, Scooter Gennett piled on with a solo home run in the third frame to extend Milwaukee’s lead to 4-0 and Hernan Perez followed that with another solo home run in the following inning to increase the margin to five.

Milwaukee wasn’t (close to) done at that point, scoring again in the fifth to shift the scoreboard to 6-0. The Braves did make a faint run in the top of the sixth frame, scoring two runs on an Erick Aybar (!) home run and a Nick Markakis RBI single, but that optimism was short-lived. In fact, it lasted exactly half of one inning, as the Brewers picked up three more runs on a double from the bat of Pina to take a commanding 9-2 lead and, effectively, end any threat of a comeback.

From there, it was academic and, in short, this was a brutal afternoon for the Braves. Hernandez’s performance sent Atlanta fans in search of a return date for Julio Teheran (or even Matt Wisler), as he allowed five runs on three home runs in four innings of work. Elsewhere, both Brandon Cunniff (1.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 hits, 3 BB) and Madison Younginer (1.2 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB) were wildly ineffective in the middle innings, with Eric O’Flaherty also allowing a run in his only inning of work. All told, the Brewers scored in each and every inning and that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Almost fittingly, the “star” of the day for Atlanta was Erick Aybar, who finished the day with three hits, including a home run and a double. It was also a positive offensive performance from Nick Markakis (2-5, RBI) and Freddie Freeman (1-2, 2 BB, R, RBI), but on a day when the pitching was ghastly, the production from the aforementioned trio wasn’t enough.

The Braves will now travel to the nation’s capital for a three-game weekend series against the Washington Nationals. Game one of that set begins at 7:05 pm ET on Friday evening. Stay tuned.