Baseball / Sports

The Atlanta Braves' Ryan Doumit (4) breaks up a double play in the 7th inning as Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura tries to avoid the collision on Thursday May 22, 2014, at Turner Field in Atlanta. (Brant Sanderlin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)

Doumit clutch again as Braves rally to beat Brewers

ATLANTA -- It's pronounced Dough-mit, and now would be a good time for Braves fans to learn it if they haven't already.

For the third time in five days, Ryan Doumit came through Thursday with the kind of big hit the Braves hoped he would provide when they traded for him in December.

Doumit's two-run pinch-hit single in the seventh inning gave the Braves a 5-4 lead, and they hung on to beat the Brewers by that score in a series-clinching win after looking out of it for most of the night.

"I've been put in the situation where I'm either going to be the goat or the hero," Doumit said. "I've been the hero the last couple of days, but it's not easy. You go up there and at the end of the day you just try to put together a good at-bat."

Closer Craig Kimbrel worked around a leadoff hit-by-pitch in the ninth inning by striking out the next three batters to collect his 12th save, leaving him three from matching John Smoltz's franchise career record of 154 saves.

B.J. Upton hit a solo homer in the sixth inning and the Braves scored three runs on four hits in the seventh to pull out the win, their fourth in the past five games including three of four in the series with the NL Central-leading Brewers.

Singles by Chris Johnson (3-for-4) and Dan Uggla chased starter Matt Garza from the game with one out in the seventh.

With two on and one out, Gerald Laird greeted reliever Brandon Kintzler with a double off the glove of third baseman Mark Reynolds, trimming the Brewers' lead to 4-3 and setting the stage for Doumit.

There was an approximate five-minute delay before Doumit's at-bat, because of confusion with the Brewers coaching staff. With their pitching and bullpen coaches both away for their children's graduation ceremonies, the Brewers miscommunicated and didn't get the message to left-hander Will Smith to begin warming up.

When he was summoned to the field he hadn't warmed up properly, and the Brewers had home-plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth ask the Braves if Smith could get more than the rulebook-alloted eight pitches to get ready. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said no, and after a call was made to Major League Baseball offices in New York to see if anything could be done -- it was not -- play finally resumed with Smith facing Doumit.

"I was just trying to stay as focused as I can," Doumit said. "At the end of the day you're like, are we going to do this or not? Hopefully they get something ironed out (with replay)."

Doumit singled up the middle between the shortstop and second-base bag to drive in two runs for the lead, revving up a crowd.

On Sunday in St. Louis, Doumit had a two-out pinch-hit double in the ninth inning when the Braves scored twice to pull out a 6-5 win that many of them said was the biggest of the season to date. And in Monday's series opener against the Brewers, Doumit had a pinch-hit homer to lead off a five-run eighth inning that turned a one-run lead into a 9-3 rout.

Doumit is 6-for-14 with two doubles, a homer and five RBIs in his past seven games, and 7-for-21 as a pinch-hitter.

"I tell you what, that was two big at-bats in that inning, Laird and (Doumit)," Gonzalez said. "They stuck their nose in there with some tough counts and facing some tough situations and got big results. They put the ball in play. When you put the ball in play in those situations, funny things can happen. We caught some breaks with the replay stuff."

The Braves' rallied from a 4-1 deficit Thursday and won for the first time in 16 games in which they trailed at the end of the sixth inning (they were tied 4-4 after six on Sunday, and trailed 5-4 after seven and eight innings).

Braves starter Aaron Harang was charged with nine hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings, the second time in 10 starts that he allowed more than two earned runs or lasted fewer than six innings. The first in each case was April 30 at Miami, when he was charged with nine runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

With a pair of two-out RBI hits in the first and third innings, catcher Jonathan Lucroy gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead. He's hit .500 (12-for-24) with five multi-hit games in seven against the Braves this season, and has a .397 average (23-for-58) with three homers and 11 RBIs in his past 17 games against Atlanta.

The Braves elected to pitch to Lucroy in the third with a runner at second and two out, rather than walk him to face .202-hitting Mark Reynolds, whose first-inning grand slam propelled the Brewers to a 6-1 win, their only win in the four-game series. Reynolds struck out to end the third inning, his 51st strikeout in 131st at-bat.

Jason Heyward extended his hitting streak to 10 games and cut the Brewers' lead in half when he punched an RBI single through the left side of the infield with two out in the third, scoring Uggla from second base.

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

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