By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — The Braves relied on their specialties — pinch-hit homers and last at-bat wins — against baseball’s best team.
Tyler Flowers had a tiebreaking pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift Atlanta to a 5-3 win over Los Angeles on Wednesday night, ending the Dodgers’ nine-game winning streak.
The Braves have hit six pinch-hit homers this season to share the major league lead with San Diego. Their 16 wins in their final at-bat lead the majors.
Cody Bellinger hit his 30th homer in the second inning to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Danny Santana’s two-run homer in the bottom of the second gave Atlanta the lead.
Flowers’ first career pinch-hit homer off Pedro Baez (3-2) drove in Johan Camargo, who walked with two outs. He certainly wasn’t surprised to be told he had never hit another homer as a pinch-hitter. He is 2 for 18 in his career as a pinch-hitter, so it has been easy for him to track the hits.
“I’ve only got two hits pinch-hitting so yeah, that’s the first one,” Flowers said.
Flowers said pinch-hitting “hasn’t been very kind to me.”
The Braves ended the Dodgers’ major league-record streak of 53 consecutive wins when leading at any point of a game. The Dodgers led 1-0 and 3-2.
The last time the Dodgers lost after leading in a game was May 15, when they led 1-0 before losing 8-4 at San Francisco.
The Braves, who were swept in a four-game series by last-place Philadelphia to close July, have played much better against the Dodgers, who have the best record in the majors. The Dodgers are 20-3 in their last 23 games, with all three losses against the Braves.
“They play hard,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “They play the right way. It’s a good offense. … They’re a scrappy bunch. They’ve got some athleticism.”
Rex Brothers (2-2) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for Atlanta, which snapped a six-game losing streak.
Arodys Vizcaino, who has taken the closer’s role from Jim Johnson, pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.
Julio Teheran allowed three runs on four hits in five innings for Atlanta. He left the game after five innings with cramping in his right thigh that he felt in a fourth-inning at-bat.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said he was being cautious by pulling Teheran and said he expects the right-hander to make his next start.
Brock Stewart allowed two runs in four innings for Los Angeles.
Dodgers: C Yasmani Grandal remained in the game after being hit by Suzuki’s foul ball on the side of his right knee in the sixth and requiring a visit from a trainer.
Braves: Matt Adams was held out after leaving Tuesday night’s game with dizziness after five innings.
The loss prevented the Dodgers, who have the best record in the majors, from having three winning streaks of at least 10 games in a season for the first time in franchise history. The Dodgers won 10 in a row from June 16-25 and 11 straight from July 4-19.
NEW THIRD BASEMAN
After 1,802 career games at second base — plus six at shortstop — Brandon Phillips made his first start at third base for Atlanta. Phillips made the move one day after rookie second baseman Ozzie Albies was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his debut.
Phillips, 36, is expected to be the Braves’ primary third baseman, at least as long as Albies remains at second.
Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (12-1, 2.38) suffered his only loss of the season when he allowed a career-high nine runs, seven earned, to his former Atlanta teammates in a 12-3 loss on July 21.
Braves: Rookie LHP Sean Newcomb (1-5, 4.50) allowed three run in six innings and did not receive a decision in Atlanta’s 5-4 loss in 10 innings at Los Angeles on July 23.