MILWAUKEE — Domingo Santana provided all of Milwaukee’s offense with two swings, and Matt Garza turned in his best start of the season to lead the Brewers to a 4-3 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Braves.
Garza stopped the Braves, allowing three runs on six hits through 6 2/3 innings after Atlanta scored 21 runs on 32 hits the previous two nights. Garza (1-0) earned his first victory in his third start after missing the first two weeks of the season with a strained groin.
Santana delivered the run support with his fourth and fifth homers of the season. He forged a 1-1 tie with a long blast leading off the fifth — Milwaukee’s first hit of the game. Santana turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead in the sixth on the first pitch from Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz (0-3) after an error by shortstop Dansby Swanson extended the inning.
Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his sixth save of the season.
After posting 20 hits Saturday night, the Braves jumped to a quick lead in the first. Ender Inciarte singled and stole second and third. Inciarte scored on Matt Kemp’s soft liner just out of the reach of second baseman Jonathan Villar. Nick Markakis followed with a single, but Garza prevented further damage by getting Kurt Suzuki to pop out.
Garza settled from there, with Suzuki’s popup being the first of 15 straight batters set down.
Foltynewicz, meanwhile, was even better. He set down the first 11 Milwaukee batters — seven via strikeouts — before Ryan Braun reached on an error when third baseman Adonis Garcia’s throw pulled Freddie Freeman off the base.
Milwaukee got back to even in the fifth, as Domingo Santana led off with a long home run to center field for the Brewers’ first hit. Keon Broxton added one-out single and stole second with two outs, but Foltynewicz retired Garza on a tapper to the mound.
Garza retired Inciarte and Garcia to open the sixth to give him 15 straight retired. Freeman put an end to his streak and restored Atlanta’s lead by lining a 1-0 pitch just over the fence in right for his ninth homer of the season.
Foltynewicz seemed ready to hold the lead bottom of the sixth, but a two-out error by shortstop Dansby Swanson led to trouble. Eric Thames had singled with one out and was erased on a fielder’s choice grounder by Braun. The inning should have ended, but Swanson booted Hernan Perez’s grounder. Santana made it a costly error, lining the next pitch into the Atlanta bullpen in right-center for a 4-2 Milwaukee lead.
The Braves chipped a run off the lead with a two-out rally in the seventh.
NOTES: Braves 2B Brandon Phillips did not start but still extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single in the seventh inning as a pinch hitter. Phillips’ single pulled the Braves within 4-3. … Atlanta RHP Mike Foltynewicz lowered his ERA from 3.20 to 2.81 but still fell to 0-3 thanks to three unearned runs. He has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any of his four starts. … Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman homered Sunday and finished the Braves’ road trip 10-for-30 with three home runs. Freeman hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the ninth on Friday. … Milwaukee 3B Travis Shaw was not in the starting lineup Sunday after being hit on the right hand by a Jaime Garcia pitch Saturday night. X-rays taken Saturday were negative, and Shaw said before the game he felt much better Sunday. He stayed in the game Saturday after being hit, but left two innings later. … Milwaukee IF-OF Hernan Perez made his fourth start of the season at third base Sunday after starting in center field Saturday night. Perez also has started four games at shortstop, four in right field and three in center. He started games at six different positions in 2016. Perez has forced himself into the lineup by going 9-for-15 over a four-game span with two homers, two triples and three doubles in a four-game span before going 0-for-3 Saturday night. … Milwaukee LF Ryan Braun left Sunday’s game after six innings with tightness in his right trapezius — the muscle that extends from the back of the shoulder to the spine.