MILWAUKEE — Domingo Santana spent most of April scuffling at the plate. He heated up at just the right time for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Santana homered twice and drove in all four Milwaukee runs as the Brewers ended the Atlanta Braves’ four-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory Sunday.
“He drove the bus offensively,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “To break out in a game is one thing, but in a game where you are doing all of the damage is a satisfying feeling. It puts the struggles behind you.”
Santana hit a solo shot in the fifth, then added a three-run drive in the sixth inning. The big right fielder has five homers this season, including three in the three-game series against Atlanta.
Santana, who came into the series batting .169 (11 for 65), said Counsell has encouraged him twice in the past few days.
“Counsell came to up to me and said ‘Good things are going to happen, just keep hitting the ball,'” said Santana, who was 3 for 6 with two walks in the series. “He just kept talking about it, so it was really nice.”
Freddie Freeman hit his ninth home run for the Braves, a solo shot in the sixth for a 2-1 lead before Santana’s three-run shot gave the Brewers the lead for good.
Matt Garza (1-0) pitched 6 2/3 solid innings in his second start of the year. Neftali Feliz worked the ninth for his sixth save in seven chances.
Mike Foltynewicz (0-3) gave up both of Santana’s homers, allowing four runs, one earned, on four hits while striking out six in six innings. He remains winless after five starts despite a 2.81 ERA.
“The slider was working in the beginning, but a lot of them were really right over the middle of the plate, they were kind of backed up a little but they just weren’t ready for it,” Foltynewicz said. “The team gave me the lead twice and I just couldn’t hold onto it.”
Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson booted a routine grounder for an error with two outs in the sixth, allowing Santana to come to the plate with two runners on and the Braves leading 2-1. Santana homered on the first pitch. “I played it right, it just came up,” Swanson said. “So, that’s one of those things sometimes, that’s just how it goes.”
BRAUN EXITS EARLY
Brewers slugger Ryan Braun left after six innings with soreness in his right arm and tightness in his right trapezius, a large muscle that extends from the shoulder into the upper back. He said he didn’t expect to go on the disabled list, but said he might be out “at least a couple of days” because it was hurting to throw. “There’s a couple things in my arm, hopefully not too bad, but probably more than a day or so,” he said.
Braves: RHP Mauricio Cabrera (elbow tightness) only allowed one hit and two walks in two scoreless innings Saturday night in a Class A rehab start. He struck out two, throwing 18 strikes in 34 pitches. He is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday.
Brewers: 3B Travis Shaw was out of the starting lineup Sunday, a day after suffering a bruised right hand when being hit by a pitch. X-rays showed no break in the hand, Counsell said. “His hand is just a little sore, feels better than it did (Saturday),” Counsell said. “Nothing to be worried about.” . . . RHP Junior Guerra, who suffered a strained right calf on opening day, will work on agility drills this week, Counsell said. He also is pitching bullpen sessions every third day.
Braves: Atlanta begins a seven-game homestand with four contests against the New York Mets. RHP Julia Teheran (2-1, 3.38) is pitching Monday.
Brewers: Milwaukee begins a seven-game road trip with four contests against St. Louis. RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.57) is pitching Monday.