MILWAUKEE — Everything was going according to the plan Friday night for the Milwaukee Brewers, who hit three home runs, held a pair of four-run leads and had a fully-rested bullpen at their disposal.
Of course, rarely does anything in baseball stick to the plan.
The Brewers found that out the hard way as Freddie Freeman broke a tie game in the ninth with a two-run home run to give the Atlanta Braves a 10-8 victory at Miller Park.
“That was a big win for us,” Freeman said. “We’ve been playing good baseball and to come back from that is huge.”
The Brewers tagged Atlanta starter Bartolo Colon for six runs on 10 hits and two walks over five innings of work. Colon struck out five but also gave up a pair of home runs.
“We did a nice job against Colon,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We just took good at-bats, got pitches within the white part of the plate, which is what you have to do against him.”
Brewers starter Chase Anderson began the day second in the NL with a 1.13 ERA but allowed a season-high four runs on four hits and walked three with two strikeouts in six innings of work
Anderson had breezed through his first two innings but didn’t fare quite as well in the third as the first five Atlanta batters reached. Ender Inciarte made it a 4-1 game with a base hit to left and a bases-loaded double from Matt Kemp tied the game at 4.
“I think Chase kind of battled through it tonight,” Counsell said. “The walks in that inning hurt him. The walk to (Dansby) Swanson hurt him. The walk to (Adonis) Garcia hurt him. Those two walks, to me, in that inning were the big … he made a good pitch to Freeman to get him out. Going through Freeman and Kemp, you’re kind of playing with fire in that situation.”
Milwaukee’s Eric Thames led off the fifth with a single that brought up Ryan Braun, who crushed an 0-1 fastball at the letters to left for his seventh of the season, putting the Brewers back in front, 6-4.
Jason Motte took over for Colon in the seventh and allowed a leadoff double. Domingo Santana came on to hit for Anderson and made it an 8-4 game with this third homer of the season.
The Braves responded with three in the seventh off Jacob Barnes, who hadn’t allowed a run this season. Inciarte drove in a pair with a double to left and scored on Garcia’s base hit before Corey Knebel came on and snuffed out the rally.
“If you just miss your spot a little bit, they are good at fighting it off or just poking it the other way,” Barnes said. “They are kind of small ball and they will occasionally hit a home run. They are good at battling.”
“They had good at-bats. They made us work a little bit. They were able to find holes with not the hardest-hit balls.”
Knebel only threw seven pitches but Counsell turned to Carlos Torres for the eighth, but Torres couldn’t hold the lead. A strikeout and two singles led to a pinch-hit RBI single by Kurt Suzuki, tying the game at 8.
Garcia opened the ninth with a double off Neftali Feliz (0-3) who missed his mark on a 1-1 fastball to Freeman that put the Braves on top.
“It doesn’t really matter what the score is, you want to go up there and have a professional at-bat,” Freeman said. “You don’t want to give at-bats away.”
Jim Johnson sealed it with a perfect ninth and earned his fourth save.
NOTES: Brewers RHP Junior Guerra has been throwing bullpen sessions with no issue as he works his way back from a strained right calf injury suffered three innings into his Opening Day start. … Milwaukee has led at some point in 22 of its 24 games this season, including each of the last 17. … Braves 2B Brandon Phillips got another day off Friday while he recovers from a strained left groin. Manager Brian Snitker hopes to have Phillips back in the lineup Saturday. … Snitker said RHP R.A. Dickey, who left Thursday’s start after five innings with a left quadriceps strain, is feeling better and expects to make his next start.