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Thursday July 30th, 2015 2:18PM

Braves' early lead evaporates in sweep at Milwaukee

By The Associated Press
MILWAUKEE -- Rickie Weeks blasted a three-run home run and Travis Ishikawa hit a bases-clearing double in Milwaukee's eight-run fifth inning, and the Brewers beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 on Wednesday night.

The victory was the Brewers' ninth in a row at Miller Park and 18th in the past 23 games overall. Milwaukee (72-71) climbed above .500 for the first time since it was 4-3 on April 12.

The Brewers moved within three games of St. Louise for the second NL wild card. Despite the loss, the Braves continue to have a strong hold on the top wild card position.

Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo also connected for a run-scoring double in the game-turning inning, during which the Brewers sent 13 batters to the plate while collecting eight hits and two walks. Milwaukee trailed 2-0 entering the frame.

Gallardo (15-8) pitched seven strong innings in his majors-leading 24th quality start of the season. He gave up two runs on only four hits while walking three and striking out six.

Relievers Jose Veras and Kameron Loe combined to shut out the Braves over the final two innings.

Atlanta starter Paul Maholm (12-10) held the Brewers scoreless through four innings before running into major trouble in the fifth.

Maholm gave up nine hits, eight runs - six earned - in 4 1-3 innings. He walked two batters and struck out a pair. Maholm entered the game 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in two prior starts against the Brewers this season.

Weeks connected for his 18th home run of the season to spark the fifth-inning outburst, giving the Brewers a 3-2 lead. Milwaukee added five more runs in the inning, three on a double by Ishikawa, who started at first base in place of the injured Corey Hart.

Jason Heyward got the Braves on the board in the first inning when he hit a two-out, solo home run. The Braves added a run in the fourth.

NOTES: The Brewers presented Chipper Jones with a Weber gas grill and a year's supply of Klement's sausages in an on-field ceremony prior to the game to mark the retirement of the Braves' third baseman. Jones, who played his 42nd and final game against the Brewers on Wednesday, announced earlier this year his plan to retire at the end of his 18th full season in the majors, all of them with Atlanta. Jones got a loud standing ovation and tipped his cap to the crowd in his final at-bat in the ninth inning. ... Brewers 1B Hart took batting practice but sat out Wednesday's game as he continues to struggle with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Team officials said Hart, who hasn't played since Sunday, is questionable for the team's next game on Friday at home against the New York Mets. ... The Brewers have produced at least one extra-base hit in 82 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in franchise history behind the 113 consecutive-game mark recorded in 2008.
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