Braves aim to rebound against Brewers

The Atlanta Braves are not alone in the race for home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs and will try to bounce back Tuesday in the second portion of a three-game series versus the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field.

The NL East-champion Braves are battling St. Louis and Los Angeles for home-field advantage and suffered a 5-0 loss Monday to the Brewers. Mike Minor did the Braves no favors on the mound and was touched for three runs and eight hits, including a pair of home runs, in seven innings.

Anthony Varvaro allowed two runs, one earned, in relief.

Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons and Elliot Johnson had three of the hits for Atlanta, which was outhit by an 11-3 margin and holds a half-game lead over St. Louis for the best record in the National League. The Braves lost for the fifth time in the past eight tries.

"Yeah, 100 percent, we need to take care of that," Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer said about securing home-field advantage. "That's first and foremost because obviously we've been a pretty good home team."

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected in the bottom of the seventh inning for arguing that Paul Janish should have been awarded first after being hit on the left thigh. Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez ruled Janish didn't do enough to avoid the pitch.

The Braves are 52-23 at home and will send veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia to the mound Tuesday. Garcia is 1-2 with a 1.31 earned run average in five games (2 starts) with the Braves and lost his last outing at Washington on Sept. 17, when he pitched well and gave up a run in seven innings of a 4-0 loss. Garcia is just 1-4 in his past five decisions.

Garcia has made three career starts against Milwaukee, going 1-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 19 1/3 innings.

Milwaukee has won two straight since a three-game slide and won for the eighth time in 12 tries with Monday's shutout. Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez all homered for the Brewers, who got seven scoreless innings from winning pitcher Marco Estrada.

"It's nice to get a 'W,'" said Ramirez, who had a game-high three hits. "We haven't played good up until this month so it's good to finish strong."

Tyler Thornburg has a chance to pitch Milwaukee to a series win when he takes the mound Tuesday. Thornburg has won back-to-back appearances and delivered six shutout innings in last Wednesday's 7-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. He improved to 3-1 in 17 games (6 starts) this season to go along with a 1.96 ERA and the right-hander has never faced the Braves.

The Brewers have won six of their last seven versus the Braves, taking two of three in Milwaukee from June 21-23. They were swept in three games in Atlanta a season ago.