García hits 3-run HR, Brewers beat Toussaint and Braves 9-5
ATLANTA (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers are playing so well they’re not even fazed by a first-inning, four-run deficit.
Avisaíl García, Willy Adames and Eduardo Escobar hit home runs and the Milwaukee Brewers overcame the worst start of the season by Corbin Burnes to beat the Atlanta Braves 9-5 on Friday night.
Escobar, acquired from Arizona two days earlier, went deep in the ninth of his debut with the Brewers. García had three hits, including a three-run homer, as the NL Central leaders got their fourth consecutive win.
Milwaukee is 9-3 since the All-Star break and has a seven-game lead over Cincinnati in the division.
“Everything is going together for us,” García said. “Pitching, defense and hitting. I think it’s important. That’s how you win games. We are a team. Everybody has to contribute and that’s what we’re doing.”
Burnes gave up a season-high five runs on nine hits and two walks in four-plus innings. He allowed four runs in the first inning, matching his high total of runs allowed in a game this season.
“I just didn’t really find that rhythm really early on,” Burnes said.
Austin Riley hit a two-run homer, only the fourth allowed by Burnes this season, to highlight the big opening inning.
The Brewers’ bats had Burnes’ back.
“He’s an All-Star pitcher,” García said. “Sometimes that happens. You just want to come back for him.”
The Brewers rallied with four runs in the third against Touki Toussaint (1-2) and four more in the fourth.
García’s three-run homer tied the game in the third. After Kolten Wong’s double to right field drove in Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fourth to give the Brewers a 5-4 lead, Adames’ two-run shot knocked Toussaint out of the game.
Burnes’ NL-leading 2.12 ERA entering the game rose to 2.46. He gave up five hits, including run-scoring singles to Freddie Freeman and Stephen Vogt in the first.
The big first inning was a positive reaction to the Braves’ extremely busy trade deadline day. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acquired outfielders Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario and reliever Richard Rodriguez in four trades.
Duvall arrived from Miami in time to start in left field. Duvall’s run-scoring single in the fifth drove in Freeman, who walked, to knock Burnes out of the game.
The other newcomers are expected on Saturday. The Braves began the day four games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East.
Brad Boxberger (4-2) pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Burnes.
Toussaint allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings after giving up a combined two runs in his first two starts of the season.
“It’s just the command wasn’t as good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “The previous two he’s thrown a lot of strikes. The fastball was leaking today. Just not as sharp.”
Brewers: INF Keston Hiura was optioned to Triple-A Nashville and RHP Patrick Weigel was designated for assignment.
Braves: C Travis d’Arnaud (sprained left thumb) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves want d’Arnaud, who has been out since May 2, to play nine innings in back-to-back games before he is activated.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Escobar started at third base. He could play a new position, first base, as soon as Saturday night. Escobar told manager Craig Counsell he will play wherever he is needed.
“Wherever you need me, I’ll be there for you,” Escobar said. “Most important to me is to play every day.”
Counsell said he plans to play Escobar at first base against left-handers. “We’ll have to see how that goes,” Counsell said. “The more he does it, the better he’ll get at it.”
Escobar made a strong defensive play for an inning-ending double play in the fifth. He took a strong throw from Bradley in center field and quickly made a sweeping tag of Duvall, who attempted to advance from second base to third on Vogt’s fly ball.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (7-5, 2.14 ERA) is 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA in two career starts against the Braves.
Braves: Rookie LHP Kyle Muller (2-3, 2.55) will make his first career start against the Brewers.
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