The Braves suffered a possible costly series loss as they fell behind the St Louis Cardinals in the race for home field advantage in the playoffs. The Braves dropped two of three games to the Milwaukee Brewers to fall a half game behind the Cardinals with four games left in the season.
The offense was the main culprit in the Braves losses as they were shut out in both games. On Monday night the Braves rested both Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman and without two of their best hitters the Braves offense was completely anemic. Mike Minor started for the Braves and allowed three runs in seven innings. Three runs in seven innings are considered a quality start but with the Braves lack of offense that deficit seem insurmountable and the game was never really close. The closest the Braves came to threatening was in the 7th when Paul Janish was hit by a pitch which would have brought the tying run to the plate. However, umpire Angel Hernandez ruled that Janish did not try to get out of the way and so Janish had to remain in the box and eventually popped out. Fredi Gonzalez was ejected by Hernandez for arguing the call. After Minor left the Brewers added two more runs to make the final score 5-0.
The Braves won the game on Tuesday by a 3-2 score when an Andrelton Simmons single brought home Justin Upton for the walk off victory. Freddy Garcia made another strong start for the Braves and the Braves aversion to using a three man rotation in the playoffs may mean that Garcia starts game 4 of the NLDS for the Braves. Garcia was the Braves most effective starter against the Brewers as he allowed only two runs in 6.2 innings of work. Garcia had seven strikeouts against one walk as he continues his late season push for a playoff start. The Braves scored their first two runs of the game on plays where following the run a Braves baserunner was thrown out to end the inning.
Wednesday night was when things got wild and ugly in another shutout loss to the Brewers. Carlos Gomez homered in the second at bat of the game and immediately began taunting Paul Maholm who he felt had hit him intentionally earlier in the year. Gomez spent his entire home run trot screaming and pointing at Braves players and was confronted by Brian McCann in the baseline before he reached home plate. After a shouting match between the two, both benches cleared with Reed Johnson seeming to land a punch on Gomez. Both Gomez and Freddie Freeman were ejected from the game with umpires saying Freeman was throwing elbows in the fracas.
The fight cost the Braves their best hitter and the team went quietly after that losing the game 5-0. The Braves will finish the regular season with four games against the Philadelphia Phillies. If the Braves sweep the final series they will secure home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. With any losses the Braves will require help from other teams to win home field as well as the right to host the winner of the wild card play in game.