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Braves bid to reach .500 again in finale vs. Brewers

The Atlanta Braves will make another attempt at reaching .500 on Sunday when they host the Milwaukee Brewers in the rubber match of their three-game series.

The Braves have alternated wins and losses over the past 16 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the longest such streak in franchise history and surpassed the 14-game stretch of alternative outcomes by the 1895 Boston Beaneaters.

The Braves have not been at the .500 mark since July 10 and have yet to spend one day with a winning record. Atlanta has failed in the past eight attempts to reach .500.

The Braves beat the Brewers 8-1 on Saturday to even the series and remain four games behind the National League East-leading New York Mets. The Brewers saw an end to their four-game winning streak and eight-game road winning streak.

Atlanta leads the season series 3-2 and is looking to win its first season series against the Brewers since 2017.

The starters for Sunday’s season finale are Atlanta right-hander Charlie Morton (10-3, 3.72 ERA) and Milwaukee left-hander Brett Anderson (3-5, 3.86).

Morton will make his 22nd start of the season and first against Milwaukee. In his most recent start on Tuesday against the Mets, he allowed three runs over five innings to extend his winning streak to five games. Morton is 4-7 with a 4.23 ERA in 15 career starts against the Brewers.

Anderson will make his 16th start and second against the Braves. He beat Pittsburgh 9-0 in his last outing on Tuesday after tossing six scoreless innings. He is 0-1 with a 4.73 ERA in three career starts against the Braves, including a 5-1 loss on May 15 in Milwaukee, when he allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Both teams are trying to work newly acquired players into the lineup.

The Braves started Jorge Soler in right field on Saturday. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

“He had some great at-bats,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “His numbers aren’t great this year, but he’s been swinging the bat good. You know what he’s capable of.”

Eduardo Escobar, who has spent most of his career at third base and second base, got his first career start at first base on Saturday. His inexperience at the position showed when he failed to make a play while stretching for the ball and having it roll out of his mitt on a close play.

“Look, he’s going to have to learn on the job,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s where we’re at. I think the fact that he’s an instinctual, heady player — there’s going to be a learning curve. There’s going to be mistakes.”

The Brewers will need to make a roster move to replenish a bullpen that has taken a hit due to COVID-19.

Hunter Strickland and Jake Cousins both tested positive, and Jandel Gustave was deemed to be in close contact. They played a man short on Saturday despite the arrival of newly acquired Daniel Norris and John Curtiss. The Brewers already are without Christian Yelich and Jace Peterson due to COVID-19.

–Field Level Media

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