By The Sports Xchange
MILWAUKEE — After struggling to generate offense for more than a week, the Milwaukee Brewers snapped out of their funk Thursday afternoon and made history in the process.
The Brewers became just the eighth team in baseball’s expansion era to score in every inning, en route to a 11-3 romp over the Atlanta Braves to salvage a split of their four-game series at Miller Park.
“You don’t see that look on the scoreboard ever,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Chris Carter, Scooter Gennett and Hernan Perez all homered and Jonathan Villar and Perez each finished with three hits while Gennett and Pina added two apiece for Milwaukee, which collected 14 hits off four Atlanta pitchers.
“We did a good job today,” Counsell said. “The offense was kind of a little bit of everything. It was some walks, it was some two-out hits, it was some home runs, it was some execution of at bats. It was a little bit of everything today. That leads to the big numbers.”
Right-hander Roberto Hernandez put Atlanta in an early hole, allowing a two-run shot by Carter in the first inning while Keon Broxton made it a 3-0 game when he scored on Manny Pina’s botched stolen base attempt of second base in the second inning.
Gennett hit a two-out solo home run in the third and Perez followed with a solo homer in the fourth to give Milwaukee a 5-0 lead.
“We fell behind too much, too early and just had a hard time stopping the bleeding for a while,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We weren’t able to get the outs.”
Brewers starter Matt Garza, meanwhile, was on his game and put up zeroes for the first five innings of work. He stranded runners in scoring position in the first and second, then breezed through the next three innings before losing the shutout bid when Erick Aybar led off the sixth with a home run to right.
Freddie Freeman doubled and scored on Nick Markakis’ RBI single and the Braves put two more on in the inning but Garza escaped without further damage.
“I thought early on, he was feeling for it a little bit,” Counsell said. “But he got through those innings, they had a couple hard-hit balls but he got through those innings. Then I thought he really got better as he went on. He gave up a couple runs in the sixth, but I actually thought he was still pitching very well. But I thought he was really good again.”
Garza has gone 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA over his last three starts with the Brewers’ offense putting up a combined 22 runs in those contests.
“I’ve been saying for a while that I’ve just been waiting for my stuff to come back,” Garza said. “It’s back. I’ve been able to pitch like I have in the past. It is refreshing. It is a spot I’ve worked real hard to get back to.”
Hernandez lasted just four innings for the Braves, allowing five runs on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts. Milwaukee broke the game open in the sixth, when Pina cleared the bases with a double to make it a 9-2 game.
“They scored two runs back to make it 6-2, and then they had first and second and they had kind of a shot there,” Counsell said. “But the Pina double in the bottom of the inning was the big hit.”
Aybar finished with three hits, falling a triple short of a cycle, and Markakis finished with a pair for Atlanta, which stranded 10 runners and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
“It wasn’t our best day out there,” catcher Anthony Recker said. “We just weren’t able to get guys out when we needed to. They did a good job of putting some good pitches in play. We had a couple too many walks. Not a good day but, hey, on to the next one.”
NOTES: Milwaukee C Manny Pina got the start and spelled Martin Maldonado, who had gone the distance in seven of nine games — including a pair of extra-inning affairs — since Jonathan Lucroy was traded to Texas on Aug. 1. … Brewers 3B Jonathan Villar is batting .432 (16-for-37) since moving from shortstop on Aug. 2. … RHP Roberto Hernandez — formerly known as Fausto Carmona — was the 14th different starting pitcher used by Atlanta this season. …. … Milwaukee batters have homered in a season-high 14 consecutive games. It’s the team’s longest stretch of contests with a home run since going 16 straight games during the 2010 season.