MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich stayed in the game after he was hit on the left knee by Mike Foltynewicz. He tested his legs with an easy jog around the bases.
Yelich and Eric Thames scored on Jesus Aguilar’s towering drive to center, capping a five-run third inning and sending the Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
Aguilar’s 20th homer traveled an estimated 433 feet.
“It was a good one,” Aguilar said. “I was just waiting for one pitch. Thankfully, I got it.”
Tyler Saladino also homered for the Brewers, who have won five straight to extend their NL Central lead to 2 1/2 games over the second-place Cubs.
Rookie Freddy Peralta (4-1) struck out six while pitching six innings of one-run ball. The rookie right-hander has turned into a vital piece of Milwaukee’s rotation.
“Every start you learn something,” he said.
After Peralta departed, Atlanta rallied for three runs in the seventh off Jacob Barnes. But the Braves’ rally faltered when they failed to score with two on and no out after Dan Jennings replaced Barnes, and then left two on with one out in the eighth against Jeremy Jeffress.
“We were a productive out away from tying the game,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We didn’t even need a hit.”
Corey Knebel worked around a one-out single in the ninth for his 11th save.
Atlanta has lost a season-high four straight and fell into a virtual tie with Philadelphia atop the NL East, with the Phillies leading by percentage points.
Foltynewicz (6-5) had allowed five runs over his previous nine starts. He allowed that many in the span of six hitters in the third.
Saladino’s two-run shot was his first following a five-week stint on the disabled list due to a sprained left ankle. After Peralta struck out and Thames singled, Yelich was hit by a breaking ball on the inside of his knee.
When Yelich reached first, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman kissed his own hand and playfully massaged Yelich’s left knee.
Yelich and the Brewers felt better moments later, thanks to Aguilar.
“I left that pitch right over the middle,” said Foltynewicz, who struck out seven in six innings. “His bat path ran right into it.”
Foltynewicz was again felled by one inning. On May 4, he gave up six runs in the second inning against the Giants. In his 93 other innings this season, he has a 1.35 ERA.
Braves: LHP Max Fried was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand. RHP Evan Phillips was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett. … OF Ronald Acuna Jr. left in the seventh with left groin tightness after beating out an infield single. He was replaced by Charlie Culberson and is day to day.
Brewers: LHP Brent Suter was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left forearm tightness. RHP Aaron Wilkerson was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs. … RHP Zach Davies’ recovery from a sore shoulder hit another snag Friday when his back tightened up during a throwing session.
TURANG TAKES OFFER
The Brewers announced they had signed first-round draft pick Brice Turang. The prep shortstop had committed to play at LSU. His father, Brian, was originally drafted by the Brewers in 1987 but did not sign.
STEWART DOES NOT
The Braves failed to sign the eighth overall pick, right-hander Carter Stewart. Atlanta will now receive the ninth pick in the 2019 draft as compensation.
Braves: Anibal Sanchez (3-2, 2.89 ERA) gets the ball on Saturday. He has pitched well this season, but carries a 6.37 ERA in eight career starts against the Brewers.
Brewers: With Milwaukee’s starting rotation thinned due to injury, Wilkerson will take the mound for his first start this season and third of his career.