Thornburg shines but Brewers fall to Braves 3-2
Tyler Thornburg believes there are skeptics who don't think he belongs in the majors.
The good news is his manager isn't one of those doubters.
Thornburg continued his impressive late-season showing with seven strong innings for the Brewers before Milwaukee fell to the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Andrelton Simmons' run-scoring single in the ninth Tuesday night.
Simmons' single to the gap in right-center off Donovan Hand (0-5) drove in Justin Upton with two outs to give Atlanta the win.
Upton led off the ninth by hitting the first pitch from Hand for a single to left. Freddie Freeman hit a fly ball to deep center for the first out before Evan Gattis, who had three hits, hit a grounder that Scooter Gennett bobbled behind second base for an infield hit, leaving runners at first and second.
The official scorer originally ruled Gennett's play an error before changing the call after the game.
Brian McCann popped out to third base for the second out before Simmons' first hit of the night ended the game.
Shortstop Jeff Bianchi hit his first homer of the season in the fifth for Milwaukee.
Thornburg, 24, has allowed no more than two runs in any of his seven starts.
The right-hander had consecutive wins over the Cardinals and Cubs before facing the Braves. He also had strong starts against Texas and Pittsburgh.
''I know there are a lot of people out there that either don't think I belong or don't think I belong in the starting rotation,'' Thornburg said. ''I did pitch against four playoff teams. It wasn't exactly bad teams I was facing. I'm really excited about that. That will give me a lot of confidence going into the offseason.''
Thornburg set a career high with eight strikeouts while giving up two runs, seven hits and one walk in seven innings.
''You never feel good when you don't win a game, but he's got to feel good about what he did this season,'' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ''From a Triple-A start, that's quite a finish.''
Thornburg was born in Houston but attended high school in the metro Atlanta area.
''Being from here, I tried to push the moment aside a little bit and to try to stick with what I've been doing,'' Thornburg said. ''And it worked well tonight.''
Simmons had his third game-ending hit of the season to give the Braves their 24th win in their final at-bat. Simmons said it's a good habit for the NL East champions to carry into the playoffs.
''It's always good to have those close games and come out victorious and create that winning habit that we've had throughout the year,'' Simmons said. ''To keep that going into the postseason is big.''
Craig Kimbrel (4-3), who leads the majors with 49 saves, struck out the side in the ninth. He has 96 strikeouts in 65 innings.
Freddy Garcia allowed two runs, six hits and one walk in 6 2-3 innings for Atlanta. Garcia, 36, had seven strikeouts to set a season high in a combined 13 starts with Baltimore and the Braves.
Jonathan Lucroy gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the first when his single drove in Norichika Aoki, who doubled. Lucroy leads the majors with 76 RBIs as a catcher. He has driven in 82 runs overall.
Thornburg was helped by double plays in the second and third innings before giving up a run in the fourth. With two outs, Freeman singled and scored on a double to the base of the wall in center field by Gattis, who was thrown out trying to advance to third.
NOTES: Brewers SS Jean Segura had to stop running before the game after he felt tightness in his strained right hamstring. ... Roenicke said RHP Wily Peralta, who developed a blister on his throwing hand in his last start against the Cardinals on Sunday night, will not make his scheduled start Saturday against the Mets. ... Braves LHP Paul Maholm and Brewers RHP Kyle Lohse will bring 10-10 records into Wednesday night's final game of the series.