Aoki has two-run double, helps Brewers to win
MILWAUKEE Norichika Aoki had a two-run double to key a four-run seventh inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 Monday night.
The Brewers sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh, but did all the damage on two hits and a sacrifice fly in snapping the Braves’ five-game winning streak.
Milwaukee’s 16th win in 21 games has brought the Brewers back to the fringe of the NL wild-card race.
Martin Maldonado led off the seventh with a single off Jonny Venters (5-4), who was trying to protect a 1-0 lead for Braves starter Mike Minor. Pinch-hitter Jean Segura walked.
Milwaukee got a break when Jeff Bianchi bunted back to Venters, who fielded the sacrifice and threw wide of third baseman Chipper Jones. Pinch-runner Eric Farris scored on the throwing error and Segura and Bianchi each moved up a base.
Chad Durbin came on to face pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy and walked him to load the bases. Aoki then hit a 2-0 pitch to the wall in left for a two-run double. Lucroy scored on Carlos Gomez’ sacrifice fly to complete the scoring.
Jose Veras (4-4) pitched the seventh and worked out of a bases-loaded jam to earn the victory.
John Axford worked the ninth for his 28th save.
The Brewers entered Monday six games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild-card spot. The Braves were 5 1-2 games ahead of the Cardinals for home-field advantage in the one-game wild-card playoff.
The Braves had four runners thrown out on the base paths, committed two errors and issued seven walks. They also left seven men on base over the final six innings.
Minor pitched 5 2-3 innings of two-hit ball for Atlanta and looked to be in line for his second victory over Milwaukee this season.
He struck out eight, walked two and gave up a ground-rule double to Aoki in the third and a single to Maldonado in the fourth. After striking out Ryan Braun with his 115th pitch for the second out in the sixth, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez brought in Cory Gearrin. After Aramis Ramirez walked, Gearrin struck out Rickie Weeks swinging.
Minor beat the Brewers 2-1 at Turner Field on April 14 when he allowed two hits and one unearned run in 7 1-3 innings.
Wily Peralta, a September call-up, was looking for his second consecutive victory after beating Miami Wednesday in his first start.
He allowed one run on seven hits in six innings with four strikeouts and a walk.
The Braves scored in the fifth when Dan Uggla singled to start the inning. Running on the pitch, he took third when Brian McCann’s single slipped through the spot vacated by Bianchi as the Brewers shortstop broke to cover second. Uggla scored when Andrelton Simmons, who started his first game since he broke his pinky finger on July 8, hit into a double play.
Braun, who left Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning with a sore right wrist, was back in the lineup. He went 0 for 2 with a walk.
Jones received a rousing ovation when he came to bat in the first. Before he stepped into the batter’s box, he looked toward the stands down each foul line and acknowledged the crowd’s cheers by waving his batting helmet. His single in the fifth was his 2,715 career hit and tied him with Bill Buckner for 60th all-time.
NOTES: Milwaukee 1B Corey Hart left Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth inning with a left ankle sprain. Manager Ron Roenicke said he intended to meet with the team’s medical staff about Hart after batting practice. “He’s not limping as bad today, but it’s still there,” Roenicke said. “I hope it’s not very long (that he’d be out).” ... Braves RHP Ben Sheets, who is on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, threw approximately 20 pitches in two innings of simulated action. “I hope I get back on the mound,” the right-hander said. “Really, tomorrow we’ll see how I feel and go from there. I felt good today.” Gonzalez said that Sheets, who is 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA in eight starts, could pitch out of the bullpen or even make an emergency start once he’s cleared for action. “Any capacity they ask me to help in, I’d be willing to do,” Sheets said. ... The Brewers plan to honor Jones before Wednesday’s afternoon game.