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Botched pitching change costs Brewers; Braves rally from 3 runs down to beat Milwaukee 5-4

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ATLANTA - The Milwaukee Brewers made a call to the bullpen.

Too bad no one was warming up.

On a night when two coaches were attending graduations, the Brewers messed up a pitching change, gave up three runs in the seventh inning, and lost to the Atlanta Braves 5-4 on Thursday.

"I feel bad about everything," said manager Ron Roenicke, who took the blame for the botched communications in the Milwaukee dugout and bullpen. "It's going to be hard on me."

Ryan Doumit's pinch-hit single brought home the tying and go-ahead run after the Brewers summoned relief pitcher Will Smith, who was just sitting around in the bullpen with his jacket on.

After a lengthy delay while the umpires sorted things out, Smith was allowed to throw only the customary eight warm-up pitches on the mound before facing Doumit.

It wasn't really a surprise when Doumit ripped a single to left past the drawn-in infield, bringing home the tying and go-ahead runs.

"I certainly think that had something to do with it," Roenicke said.

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz and bullpen coach Lee Tunnell were both excused from the game.

Rick Tomlin, normally the minor league pitching co-ordinator, filled in for Kranitz but apparently didn't realize that the manager wanted Smith warming up.

After Roenicke went out to tell the umpires of a double switch, he stunningly learned that no one was throwing in the bullpen, which is shielded from his view in the left-field corner. Not that it's usually an issue; there are monitors in both dugouts that show what's going on in the home and visiting bullpens.

"Miscommunication," Roenicke said. "There's a certain way we do things, and when Kranitz isn't here, I didn't go back and tell Rick Tomlin who to get up and bring in. It's my fault."

The Braves trailed 4-1 heading to the bottom of the sixth.

B.J. Upton hit a two-out homer, barely clearing the right-field wall, and the Braves rallied for the win the next inning. Gerald Laird also had a key hit, a run-scoring double that ricocheted off an infielder's glove.

Jean Segura had three hits for Milwaukee and scored two runs, driven home both times by two-out hits from Jonathan Lucroy.

Alex Wood (4-5) worked a scoreless inning for the win, and Craig Kimbrel earned his 12th save.

Brandon Kintzler (1-2) took the loss, failing to retire the only batter he faced.

Chris Johnson started the Atlanta seventh with a single. Dan Uggla, in a rare start, singled to left with one out after fouling off three pitches to keep the at-bat alive.

Kintzler took over for starter Matt Garza, but Laird grounded one off the glove of third baseman Mark Reynolds, the ball rolling into short left field. A run scored, and Laird hustled to second for a double that barely got out of the infield.

Then things really went haywire for the Brewers.

Roenicke thought both Kintzler and Smith had been warming up. Actually, another left-hander, Zach Duke, had just started loosening up and tried to come into the game.

But since the Brewers had already announced Smith as their new pitcher, he had to face at least one hitter.

"You can't do that to a player," Roenicke said.

Smith tried to downplay the whole situation.

"Stuff that that's going to happen," he said. "It's a long season. We've just got to get it together and get on another winning streak again."

Dave Carpenter worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth after plunking the leadoff hitter.

Garza went 6 1-3 innings, giving up five hits and four runs.

Logan Schafer's squeeze bunt brought in another Milwaukee run, and Khris Davis finished off Atlanta starter Aaron Harang with an RBI single in the sixth. Harang allowed nine hits and all four Brewers runs in 5 1-3 innings.

Notes: Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun left the game in the fifth because of tightness in his right side. Roenicke said it was the oblique muscle flaring up again and wasn't sure how long Braun might be out. ... Uggla also had a walk and scored two runs in only his second start since May 6. ... Gavin Floyd (0-1) will go against Colorado's Jordan Lyles (5-1) on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Turner Field. The Brewers head to Miami, where Marco Estrada (3-2) will take the mound against Tom Koehler (4-3) of the Marlins.


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