MILWAUKEE (AP) — Braves left-hander Paul Maholm has seen enough of the Milwaukee Brewers for one season.
After holding the Brewers scoreless through four innings, Milwaukee rocked Maholm for eight runs — six earned — in the fifth before he was removed after recording only a single out in the frame.
Rickie Weeks blasted a three-run home run and Travis Ishikawa hit a bases-clearing double in Milwaukee’s eight-run fifth inning, and the Brewers beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 on Wednesday night.
Maholm entered the game 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in two prior starts against the Brewers this season.
“I can’t say I like this place. I’m kind of glad to be out of here and not coming back this year. They’ve got a good lineup. Obviously, they know me and I know them,” Maholm said. “They’re pitching well, playing well and taking advantage of situations. They’re doing everything they can to fight and get back in the playoffs.”
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke struggled to explain the Brewers’ success this season, and in this game, against Maholm.
“We didn’t do much until that (fifth) inning. Why we didn’t do anything and all of a sudden we bust out, I don’t really know,” he said.
Weeks connected for his 18th home run of the season to spark the fifth-inning outburst, giving the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
The victory was the Brewers’ ninth in a row at Miller Park and 18th in the past 23 games overall. Milwaukee (72-71) climbed above .500 for the first time since it was 4-3 on April 12.
The Brewers moved within three games of St. Louis for the second NL wild card. Despite the loss, the Braves continue to have a strong hold on the top wild card position.
Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo also connected for a run-scoring double in the game-turning inning, during which the Brewers sent 13 batters to the plate while collecting eight hits and two walks. Milwaukee trailed 2-0 entering the frame.
Gallardo (15-8) pitched seven strong innings in his majors-leading 24th quality start of the season. He gave up two runs on only four hits while walking three and striking out six.
Relievers Jose Veras and Kameron Loe combined to shut out the Braves over the final two innings.
Jason Heyward got the Braves on the board in the first inning when he hit a two-out, solo home run. The Braves added a run in the fourth.
The two-run lead heading into the fifth gave Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez confidence that a better outcome was in store for his team.
“Early in the game, we made some great defensive plays. Guys were bouncing everywhere and got a couple of quick runs and I thought, `OK, here we go,'” Gonzalez said. “But it’s hard to win ball games when we score three runs in three games and we give up a bunch.”
The Brewers are having success in all phases of the game, which has allowed the team to climb into the playoff hunt, he added.
“In the second half of the season, they’re one of the hottest teams in the National League. They’re playing good, they’re pitching good, putting the ball in play when they have to,” Gonzalez said.
Heyward said getting swept by the Brewers came down to the inability to avoid multi-run innings.
“It was the story of the series for us,” he said. “We couldn’t avoid the big inning.”
The Braves head home for a series against the division-leading Washington Nationals.
“Right now, we’ve got to try to win that series,” Heyward said.
NOTES: Brewers CF Carlos Gomez left the game in the second inning with a lower quad contusion. He’s day-to-day, according to team officials. .The Brewers presented Chipper Jones with a Weber gas grill and a year’s supply of Klement’s sausages in an on-field ceremony prior to the game to mark the retirement of the Braves’ third baseman. Jones, who played his 42nd and final game against the Brewers on Wednesday, announced earlier this year his plan to retire at the end of his 18th full season in the majors, all of them with Atlanta. Jones got a loud standing ovation and tipped his cap to the crowd in his final at-bat in the ninth inning. … Brewers 1B Hart took batting practice but sat out Wednesday’s game as he continues to struggle with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Team officials said Hart, who hasn’t played since Sunday, is questionable for the team’s next game on Friday at home.