After a 24-inning eternity of futility, the Atlanta Braves got a grand slam in the first inning of their Sunday game against the Milwaukee Brewers. They went on to win 7-4, ending an abysmal scoreless streak that stretched almost three full games. The previous back-to-back shutout losses to the Brewers were Atlanta’s 10th and 11th of the season.
Catcher Brian McCann was the bat behind the grand slam, the 10th of his career, and he finally got an offense going that had been sputtering badly.
Chris Johnson and Jordan Schafer added solo shots for the Braves, who finally looked like the team full of longball hitters that is leading the NL East.
“I usually don’t hit the home runs over that way, so I’ve been working hard to stay on the ball and today, luckily, I put a good enough swing on it to go out that way,” McCann said.
After two shutout losses, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez understood just how important getting off to a good start was.
“That was big for us,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “If anything, to get ahead and get four runs and then tack on a couple later on and win the game was big. Games like this, they say hitting is contagious. Hopefully, it catches a couple of guys and keeps going.”
The win also snapped an eight-game losing streak at Miller Park dating to April 2011.
Both McCann and Schafer went 4-5 on the day and the man behind the plate had some high praise for his teammate.
“I can’t say enough good things about that guy,” McCann said of Schaffer. “He comes back here for his second stint and I think he’s understanding what he can and can’t do on a baseball field. He’s staying within himself and you’re seeing this guy has got tools and we’re starting to see them on a nightly basis.”
Five Braves relievers held Milwaukee scoreless over the final four innings and Craig Kimbrel stepped in for the ninth inning and earned his 21st save in 24 attempts.
The Braves begin a two-game series against Kansas City Tuesday and return to Atlanta for a three-game stand against the Diamondbacks on Friday.