MILWAUKEE — Keston Hiura celebrated his return to the majors by delivering the huge blow that capped the Milwaukee Brewers’ biggest comeback of the season.
Not bad for someone who spent much of the previous day battling the flu.
Hiura hit a two-run homer off Jesse Chavez in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Brewers rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6 on Wednesday. The Brewers had tied it with two outs in the ninth on an RBI triple from Kolten Wong.
“I can’t wait for some sleep, that’s for sure,” said Hiura, who was officially called up from Triple-A Nashville before the game after arriving in Milwaukee on Tuesday. “I tossed and turned last night.”
Although Hiura was batting .216 with two homers when he was sent to the minors earlier this month, he had sizzled lately in the minors. Hiura batted .421 with a .522 on-base percentage, three homers and 10 RBIs in 19 at bats with Nashville.
After going hitless in his first four at-bats, Hiura ended the game by building on the momentum he had established in Nashville. He led off the bottom of the 11th by sending a 1-2 sinker from Chavez (0-1) over the center-field wall. The drive scored automatic runner Jace Peterson.
This was the second walk-off homer of Hiura’s career. He also had one against Craig Kimbrel in a 5-3, 10-inning victory over the Chicago Cubs on July 27, 2019.
“It was just a great team win,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We had a lot of guys who came up clutch and had great at-bats in big spots, and Keston kind of topped it off.”
This marked the first time all season the Brewers had won a game they’d trailed by at least four runs. They had erased three-run deficits in three victories this season and are now 2-13 in games they trail after eight innings.
“We wanted to fight,” Wong said. “I feel like that was something we hadn’t done this year, was continue to fight all nine innings. That was an awesome team win.”
Wong’s triple tied the game and caused Braves closer Kenley Jansen blew a save for the first time in 10 opportunities.
After falling behind 0-2, Wong worked the count full and then sent a liner into the right-field corner to bring home Peterson with the tying run.
“A great piece of hitting by Kolten Wong,” said Jansen, who blamed himself for walking Peterson to start the inning.
The Brewers then won the game in extra innings despite not having closer Josh Hader and his 0.00 ERA available. Counsell said Hader was dealing with a family matter.
Atlanta took a 5-4 lead in the 10th when automatic runner Ronald Acuna Jr. hustled home from second on a botched double-play attempt for an unearned run. Milwaukee tied it on Hunter Renfroe‘s sacrifice fly.
The Braves regained the lead in the top of the 11th on Travis d'Arnaud‘s RBI single off Trevor Kelley (1-0), who retired the next three batters in order and ended up earning his first major league win.
“It’s hard when you’re the road team,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “You’ve got to score multiple runs, I think, in extra innings to make things hold up because it’s an impossible situation with the runner on second and nobody out.”
The Braves dropped two of three in Milwaukee and haven’t won a road series yet this season. The defending World Series champions have split two road series and lost the other three.
Braves starter Max Fried struck out six and allowed seven hits, three runs and two walks in six innings. Burnes struck out seven and yielded four runs and seven hits in his six-inning stint.
Braves: Acuna was in the lineup for a second straight day and started at right field after filling a designated hitter role Tuesday. Acuna had missed five games with a sore groin.
Brewers: SS Willy Adames went on the injured list, retroactive to Monday, with a high left ankle sprain. … OF Andrew McCutchen remained out of the lineup. McCutchen rejoined the team Tuesday after dealing with COVID-19.
Braves: Off Thursday before starting a three-game series at Miami on Friday. RHP Charlie Morton (2-3, 4.93) will start for the Braves on Friday, while LHP Trevor Rogers (2-4, 4.45) pitches for the Marlins.
Brewers: Off Thursday before beginning a three-game home series with the Washington Nationals on Friday. Scheduled starters are RHP Erick Fedde (2-2, 4.24) for the Nationals and LHP Eric Lauer (3-1, 2.60) for the Brewers.