MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Atlanta Braves finally are heading home, and they hope to find their offense once they get there.
The Braves struggled to score runs again in their third straight defeat, going scoreless after the second inning in a 4-2 loss at Milwaukee on Thursday.
Outside of an 11-run outburst in a victory at Washington on Sunday, Atlanta has been held to four runs or fewer in the rest of their games to start the season.
``We've run into some pretty good pitching,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``You've got to tip your hat to these guys here. This club is able (to), and will, score some runs.'
Martin Prado, whose two-run single in the second inning provided the Braves' only offensive output Thursday, said a trip home might help get the offense going.
``It will,' Prado said. ``I feel like we've been on the road for like a month. Going home, playing on our home field, makes you feel more comfortable and confident.'
Atlanta has its home opener Friday night after playing its first seven games on the road.
The Braves couldn't muster much run support for starter Tommy Hanson (0-2), who gave up three runs, seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings against Milwaukee.
``The biggest thing for me was my slider. It wasn't very good today,' Hanson said. ``Five of the seven hits I gave up were on sliders. A couple of them were with two strikes. Obviously the biggest one was when Braun hit that homer.'
The Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Alex Gonzalez grounded out to end the inning.
Ryan Braun hit his third home run of the season for the Brewers, who have recovered nicely from a four-game losing streak to start the year. Milwaukee rallied to take three of four games from the Braves after losing Monday's home opener at Miller Park.
Brewers closer John Axford pitched a scoreless ninth to earn saves in back-to-back games after a shaky start to the season.
Milwaukee got a better outing the second time around from new starter Shaun Marcum (1-1), who gave up two runs, five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings.
Marcum, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Toronto, wasn't particularly sharp in his first outing as a Brewer, giving up four runs - three of which were earned - and five walks while going only 4 2-3 innings and taking the loss in Cincinnati on Saturday.
With the game tied at 2, Nyjer Morgan almost single-handedly put the Brewers back ahead.
With one out in the second, Morgan doubled, stole third - getting such a good jump that there wasn't a throw - and then took off for home on a grounder by George Kottaras. Morgan barreled into catcher Brian McCann, who lost the ball, and Morgan doubled back to step on home plate before McCann got the ball back. The run gave Milwaukee a 3-2 lead.
``As a catcher, you just prepare that they're going to run you over,' McCann said. ``So I was ready for it. I don't know if I had the ball or not.'
Notes: Gonzalez rested 3B Chipper Jones, but he appeared as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... Matt Young collected his first career hit with a single off Axford in the ninth. ... Atlanta has a 9-game homestand against Philadelphia, Florida and the New York Mets.
The Associated Press News Service
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