Brewers take 4th straight loss, fall 7-4 to Braves
By CHARLES ODUM
ATLANTA (AP) A four-game losing streak has dropped Milwaukee two games below .500 and has manager Ron Roenicke looking for better pitching and hitting.
Chris Narveson gave up five runs in four innings and the Brewers managed only one run through the first eight innings while falling to the Atlanta Braves 7-4 on Sunday.
The Brewers were swept in the three-game series, and Roenicke said there were few bright spots.
"We're not playing the type of game that we want to play," Roenicke said. "On both ends. Pitching and offensively, we're just not doing the things that we need to do."
Jonathan Lucroy had a two-run homer in the ninth after driving in Milwaukee's first run with a second-inning single.
The Brewers scored three runs in the ninth off Chad Durbin after trailing 7-1.
"I don't know why you go through these little funks," Roenicke said. "We started off not playing good last year and I don't want to do that again.
"We've got to kick it in gear a little bit earlier than the ninth inning."
Jason Heyward also homered for the Braves, who have surged since losing their first four games. Beachy gave up three hits and one unearned run in seven innings.
Jones, whose 40th birthday is April 24, had arthroscopic surgery on March 26 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He missed the first two games of the series after having the knee drained on Friday. Jones hit what he called a hanging curve ball from Narveson for the three-run homer in the third inning that gave the Braves the lead.
"It was a pretty cool moment," said Jones, who announced in spring training he will retire after the season. "This year is going to be filled with a lot of moments, I hope. I've had two so far."
Jones has two homers in only three games. After missing the first four games of the season while recovering from the surgery, he homered in his first game back on Tuesday night in Houston.
"It's just amazing," Beachy said. "He just had his knee drained and comes up today with a big three-run homer. ... It's just huge having him out there."
Beachy (1-1) became Atlanta's second straight starter to pitch at least seven innings without allowing an earned run. He struck out six and walked two batters. Mike Minor gave up two hits and one unearned run in 7 1-3 innings in the Braves' 2-1 win on Saturday night.
Milwaukee's first run came after Braves left fielder Martin Prado, fighting the sun, dropped Aramis Ramirez's flyball to open the second inning. Ramirez advanced to second on the play and scored on Lucroy's two-out single to center.
Beachy gained momentum by striking out Ramirez and Hart with runners on first and second in the third inning.
Jones' homer in the third drove in Beachy, who walked, and Prado, who doubled to left. Heyward added his homer high and deep in the right-field seats in the fourth.
Narveson gave up five runs on four hits and two walks.
"It was kind of an uphill battle today," Narveson said. "Sometimes I'd get ahead and I'd lose it. Other times I'd fall behind and try to find it."
The Braves loaded the bases in the eighth against Brewers closer John Axford, who had not pitched since Wednesday. After Uggla walked, first baseman Mat Gamel bobbled a grounder by Freddie Freeman for an error. Weeks added a throwing error on the play, making a poor toss toward first.
Axford walked Heyward to load the bases and was pulled after pinch-hitter Eric Hinske's two-run single to right.
Axford left the game with a 10.13 ERA.
"His pitches are all up in the zone," Roenicke said. "He's gonna get it going. It's just we need for him to get it going soon."
NOTES: Jackie Robinson's grandson, Jesse Sims, was on the field for a pregame ceremony as the Braves celebrated the 65th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier. Players on each team wore Robinson's No. 42. ... Brewers SS Alex Gonzalez, who left the team after Friday's game, and his wife, Johanna, had a baby boy, Axel David, on Sunday morning. Gonzalez is expected to join the Brewers Tuesday in Milwaukee. .... The Braves open a three-game home series against the Mets on Monday night. Tommy Hanson will face New York's Dillon Gee. ... The Brewers are off on Monday and will begin a nine-game homestand by facing the Dodgers on Tuesday night, when Yovanni Gallardo faces Chad Billingsley. ... Durbin has allowed homers in each of his three appearances.
Updated April 15, 2012