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Thursday May 28th, 2015 10:15AM

Braves' quest for best record takes a hit in 5-0 loss

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA -- Marco Estrada pitched seven innings, Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Atlanta Braves 5-0 on Monday night.

The NL East champion Braves began the night with the league's best record, 1 1/2 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who did not play Monday, moved two games back.

Atlanta has the majors' best home record at 52-23, but the Brewers led 4-0 in the eighth when Aramis Ramirez homered off reliever Anthony Varvaro.

Gomez gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the first, hitting the first pitch he saw from Mike Minor (13-8) for his 22nd homer.

The Brewers went up 3-0 in the fifth when Norichika Aoki doubled and scored on Jonathan Lucroy's 18th homer.

Estrada (7-4) gave up two hits, walked three and struck out six. He threw a career-high 115 pitches, 76 for strikes.

Minor allowed eight hits and three runs and struck out six in seven innings. The left-hander, whom manager Fredi Gonzalez is considering to start Atlanta's playoff opener next week, is winless in his last five starts.

The hits Estrada allowed were a triple by Andrelton Simmons in the second and single by Justin Upton in the sixth.

In his last eight starts since coming off the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, Estrada is 3-0 with a 2.26 ERA, a span of 51 2-3 innings. He improved to 3-1 and lowered his ERA 1.54 points to 3.96 in four career starts against Atlanta.

Estrada pitched out of trouble in the fourth. Leading 1-0, he walked Jordan Schafer and Upton. Chris Johnson, the next batter, struck out on a wild pitch that moved the runners up, but Estrada struck out Evan Gattis and Simmons.

After Ramirez's 12th homer in the eighth, Milwaukee took a 5-0 lead when Sean Halton doubled off Varvaro, moved to third on Yuniesky Betancourt's infield single and scored on shortstop Simmons' throwing error.

Minor has allowed at least two homers in seven starts this season and is 0-3 with a 5.12 ERA in those outings.

Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Gonzalez with two outs in the seventh. With a runner at first, Estrada hit Paul Janish in the left leg with a pitch, but Hernandez ruled that Janish, who leaned into the 89 mph fastball, did not attempt to get out of the way.

Rob Wooten pitched the eighth and Michael Blazek the ninth for Milwaukee.

NOTES: Gonzalez said C Brian McCann took the day off to spend time with his family after his wife Ashley gave birth to their second child, a daughter. ... Gomez began the night 11 for 35 with two homers and 12 RBIs in last 10 games. ... 1B Freddie Freeman, the first Atlanta player with at least 100 RBIs since Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur in 2007, was given the night off. Freeman has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games with six homers and 17 RBIs. ... Gonzalez said that Braves LHP Alex Wood will pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason. Wood is 0-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 19 2-3 innings as a reliever, and Gonzalez is concerned that LHPs Luis Avilan and Scott Downs are battling minor injuries and have struggled recently in late innings. ... Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said SS Jean Segura, out since last Wednesday with a strained right hamstring, did some running Monday and could be used off the bench by Wednesday. ... The Brewers snapped an eight-game losing streak at Turner Field.
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