Baseball / Sports

Braves win with five-run eighth inning

ATLANTA -- The Braves said they were going to use Sunday's win in St. Louis to build a little momentum and they kept their word.

They worked an unusually wild Wily Peralta for a three-run lead in the first three innings, chased him after five innings, and then finished off the Brewers' bullpen with a five-run eighth inning to take the first game of this series, 9-3, against the first-place team from the NL Central on Monday night.

By the time the eighth-inning onslaught was over, the Braves had batted around so pinch hitter Ryan Doumit actually batted twice in the inning, and he was facing the Brewers utility player Lyle Overbay, a former Brave, who went to the mound for his first appearance as a pitcher.

Overbay got Doumit to pop-out which was more than Weu-Chung Wang could say, after allowing five runs including two homers on 40 pitches.

The Braves used an opposite field home run from Freddie Freeman to take an early lead and broke it open with home runs from Doumit´┐Ż the 100th of his career -- and Justin Upton.

The Braves piled on a season-high 15 hits, including three each from Andrelton Simmons and from leadoff hitter Jason Heyward, who also stole two bases and scored two runs. The Braves scored six or more runs for two straight games for the first time since they won four in a row with some steady offense against the Nationals and Phillies April 11-14.

While the Braves could have scored a lot more than three runs off Peralta, wasting multiple opportunities in the first three innings, they worked him for enough pitches to chase him after five innings.

Believe it or not, the Brewers were actually within a run when the Braves took the plate in the eighth. Ryan Braun had stroked a two-out, two-strike opposite field home run off David Carpenter to pull the Brewers within 3-2 to the dismay of a booing 20,468 at Turner Field. But he just gave another Ryan some ideas.

Doumit worked a full count from Wang to lead off the eighth and then sent his first home run as a Brave -- and fourth as a pinch-hitter -- into the left field seats. After Wang hit Jason Heyward, Upton homered to right for his 11th of the season.

The Braves got their usual solid work from the mound, with Mike Minor allowing only two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on one swing when Kris Davis turned on a 3-1 fastball for a two-run homer in the fifth inning. That would pull the Brewers within 3-2 but it was all the Brewers could muster off Minor.

He had shut out the Brewers for the first four innings without allowing a hit until Jonathan Lucroy singled with two outs in the fourth. Lucroy's line drive to left broke up 11 in a row retired after Minor walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the game.

If not for Minor, and the late power surge, the Braves could have actually found themselves lamenting wasted opportunities again. They stranded 10 runners over the first seven innings, while going 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Chris Johnson hit into a double play in the first inning. Heyward got thrown out at home plate in the fourth. And the Braves managed only an unearned run with a bases-loaded opportunity in the sixth. But the Braves cured a lot of ills with some big swings in the eighth.

Earlier in the game, Freeman homered for the second straight game on a shot to the opposite field. This one barely cleared the left field wall and took left fielder Davis' glove with it. But a fan was kind enough to throw his glove back to him, as Freeman had the Braves up 3-0 on his ninth home run of the year.

The Braves needed a wild finish to shake their offensive funk Sunday in a ninth-inning rally in St. Louis and got a wild start Monday night to keep it going.

Peralta, who walked no more than two batters in any of his first eight starts this season, walked three of the first six Braves batters he faced. The Braves scored their first run on a passed ball and an errant throw to third by Martin Maldonado. B.J. Upton drew a leadoff walk in the second inning and scored on the first of two RBI hits for Ramiro Pena in the game.

(c)2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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