Ozuna, Albies go back-to-back as Braves beat Brewers 6-3
By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Marcell Ozuna and Ozzie Albies hit Atlanta’s first back-to-back homers of the season to help the Braves snap a three-game skid with a 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
Atlanta led 2-1 before Ozuna and Albies went deep against reliever Eric Lauer.
On Lauer’s first pitch of the fifth inning, Ozuna blasted a 439-foot drive to center field that bounced off the American Family Insurance sign at the bottom of the scoreboard. Ozuna heard a chorus of boos from the Milwaukee crowd when he stopped as he rounded third base to pose for an imaginary selfie, a home run celebration he started doing during the 2020 postseason.
Albies followed Ozuna’s shot by sending a 3-2 pitch over the center-field wall as well. Albies’ homer was projected at 425 feet.
After the Braves squandered leads each of the last three days against Toronto, they built a five-run advantage and hung on this time. Atlanta’s beleaguered bullpen still made things interesting, as Josh Tomlin allowed back-to-back homers to Luis Urías and Manny Piña in the ninth inning.
Atlanta starter Drew Smyly, who signed a one-year, $11 million contract with the Braves in the offseason, showed he is starting to come around after a rough first month with his new team.
The 31-year-old left-hander has lasted six innings while giving up just one run in each of his last two starts. Smyly (2-2) allowed 21 runs — 17 earned — over 19 innings in four April starts.
Milwaukee, which has lost nine of 12, took a 1-0 lead in the second when Urías’ single through a drawn-in infield brought home Avisaíl García from third.
The Braves capitalized on Brewers starter Adrian Houser’s wildness to pull ahead for good in the third.
After Houser (3-4) walked the bases loaded, Austin Riley hit a two-out shot that appeared to go off the pitcher’s right leg before heading into center field for a single that scored Ehire Adrianza and Ozuna.
Houser entered the night having walked just five batters over his last five starts, but he matched that total Friday while lasting a season-low three innings. His five walks were a career high in 37 starts.
Braves: OF Ronald Acuña Jr., who entered this series with an MLB-leading 12 homers, wasn’t in the lineup after injuring his left ankle while trying to beat out a grounder a day earlier. Manager Brian Snitker said there’s a chance Acuña could play Saturday. … OF Cristian Pache went on the 10-day injured list with right hamstring inflammation. The Braves returned OF Ender Inciarte from a rehabilitation assignment and activated him from the IL.
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville. He struck out in his only two at-bats. The 2018 NL MVP has played only one game for Milwaukee since April 11 due to a lower back strain.
It’s a matchup of Andersons as the Braves and Brewers continue their series Saturday in Milwaukee. RHP Ian Anderson (2-1, 3.46 ERA) starts for Atlanta against LHP Brett Anderson (2-2, 3.54).
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