ATLANTA (AP) - Nyjer Morgan slumped down in his locker, a towel over his head, overwhelmed by the frustration of a second injury in a season that so far has not been kind to the center fielder or his Milwaukee Brewers.
Only two days after returning from the 15-day disabled list, Morgan broke a finger during a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
Martin Prado hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning for Atlanta, which completed a four-game series sweep and handed Milwaukee its sixth consecutive loss.
Morgan injured the middle finger on his left hand while executing a sacrifice in the eighth inning. He returned from the disabled list on Tuesday after being sidelined with a right quadriceps contusion.
The pain and frustration was obvious as Morgan slammed the towel down and left his locker without speaking to reporters. Manager Ron Roenicke said he could miss two to four weeks.
``It's tough. It's not going good,' Roenicke said. ``We're all looking forward to getting the team back to full strength. Nyjer's a big part of that. He's a spark to our lineup. He does a great job defensively. He goes down with an injury, we get him back, then all of a sudden, another one.'
The Braves outscored the Brewers 24-6 in the sweep. The Brewers, held to one hit by Tim Hudson in an 8-0 shutout on Wednesday night, scored one run in the last two games of the series. Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun combined for two hits in 30 at_bats.
``For the series?' Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez asked when told the two sluggers were 2 for 30. ``We got lucky. We might have gotten them when they were cold. Those are two real good hitters.'
Prado led off the eighth with a drive to left off Kameron Loe (2-3) for his third homer. Prado was Loe's first batter in relief of Shaun Marcum, who pitched seven strong innings.
``It was definitely the worst pitch I made all inning,' Loe said.
The road doesn't get any easier for Milwaukee, which now heads to St. Louis for a weekend series.
``We're going to see what we're made of,' Loe said.
Jonny Venters (2-0) worked the eighth and Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save. Eric Hinske, making only his third start of the season at first base, also homered for Atlanta.
Braves rookie Brandon Beachy received his fifth no-decision in seven starts, yielding an unearned run in six innings. He matched his career high with nine strikeouts while allowing four hits and a walk.
Marcum was just as tough, giving up five hits and a walk. He finished with eight strikeouts.
``We're out there battling,' Marcum said. ``We're doing everything we can. Things just aren't going our way right now. That's baseball. We've got to keep coming to the park every day ready to play and hope we get that turned around in St. Louis.
Fredi Gonzalez tweaked his lineup, giving shortstop Alex Gonzalez and first baseman Freddie Freeman a rest. Fredi Gonzalez started Hinske at first base, even though he was only 1 for 9 with five strikeouts in his career against Marcum.
Hinske made his manager look good in the second, pulling an 0-2 pitch into the right-field seats for his second homer.
While Hinske's start paid off, Alex Gonzalez's absence hurt the Braves in the fifth. Fill-in shortstop Brandon Hicks threw low to first base for an error after fielding Yuniesky Betancourt's one-out grounder. Betancourt raced to third on Corey Hart's single and scored on Jonathan Lucroy's fly ball to center field to tie the game.
Atlanta slugger Chipper Jones had two doubles, giving him 504 for his career to tie Roberto Alomar for third place by switch hitters.
NOTES: Alex Gonzalez hit for Hicks in the seventh and stayed in the game at shortstop. Freeman replaced Hinske in the field in the ninth. ... It was the Braves' first four-game sweep of the Brewers in franchise history. ... Milwaukee's batters set a season high with 15 strikeouts. ... The Brewers optioned RHP Sean Green to Triple-A Nashville and recalled RHP Mike McClendon.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved