MILWAUKEE (AP) - All of a sudden, the Atlanta hitters are missing.
Marco Estrada pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning, Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Braves 5-0 Tuesday night.
The NL wild card leaders have scored just one run in the first two games of the series.
``We're not feeling too good right now with the way we're swinging the bats,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``We swung the bats hard, but couldn't get it off the wall or in front of the wall to get some runs.'
The Braves had several long outs in the game, including a drive to the fence in the sixth inning by Chipper Jones and another long fly by Lyle Overbay in the seventh inning that Norichika Aoki caught with a leap.
``I thought we swung the bats better than the scoreboard showed at the end,' Jones said. ``When you don't get breaks, things just seem to go against you. I just have to keep these guys loose and keep them from pressing.'
The Brewers won their eighth in a row at Miller Park and reached the .500 mark for the first time since April 24. Milwaukee has surged back into the NL wild-card race by winning 17 of 22 overall.
Tim Hudson (14-6) was almost as good as Estrada for the Braves early in the game. Other than Rickie Weeks' 18th home run in the first, he allowed only an infield single to Jean Segura in his first five innings.
Hudson gave up four runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
``I thought I pitched better than giving up all those runs late,' he said. ``Four runs seemed like a dozen the way their guys were throwing. It was just one of those games.'
Estrada (3-6) was dominant from the start, allowing only two singles to Andrelton Simmons in the first five innings.
Estrada allowed four hits in 6 2-3 innings and struck out six.
Four Milwaukee pitchers combined on a five-hitter.
The Brewers broke away in the seventh by scoring three times. Segura drove in the first run with a grounder, pinch hitter Taylor Green had an RBI single and Aoki doubled home another run.
Ramirez hit his 23rd home run in the eighth.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he was thrilled to get back to .500, but wants to keep the run going.
``It is nice to get there, but is more important in the way we are playing right now,' he said. ``Our pitching has been outstanding, we're getting clutch hits from a lot of different people and we are playing very good defense.'
NOTES: Brewers 1B Corey Hart was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game with plantar fascia on his left foot. He is listed as day-to-day and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is hopeful he will be able to play Wednesday against the Braves. ... Gonzalez said RHP Ben Sheets felt no pain Tuesday, one day after throwing a simulated game. Gonzalez said Sheets, who has been on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation since Aug. 26, could be activated either Wednesday or Friday. ... Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo (14-8) will face Braves LHP Paul Maholm (12-9) in the series finale Wednesday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved