MILWAUKEE — Had Braves manager Brian Snitker known what was going to happen, he would not have sent Charlie Morton back out for the seventh inning. But given what Morton had done through six innings, there wasn’t necessarily reason for concern.
Morton was constructing what would have been his latest October masterpiece before he surrendered a two-run home run to Rowdy Tellez that gave the Brewers a 2-1 win over the Braves in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday at American Family Field.
“We knew this ballgame was going to be rough,” Snitker said. “We knew that runs would be at a premium, and they were. It was a good ballgame. It was exactly what I kind of thought, going in, that this game would be.”
Morton had totaled 75 pitches while surrendering just two hits through six innings. A four-pitch walk to begin the sixth accounted for the only trouble he had encountered before the seventh. But everything changed when the Braves right-hander hit Avisaíl García with a pitch and allowed Tellez to drill his go-ahead homer high above the center-field wall.
Tellez’s game-winning shot came against a 1-2 fastball that found too much of the zone. It was the final pitch thrown by Morton, who recorded nine strikeouts and allowed just the two runs on three hits and one walk over six-plus innings.
Brewers starter Corbin Burnes showed why he’s an NL Cy Young Award candidate as he allowed just two hits and three walks over six scoreless innings. Burnes threw 16 pitches as he walked Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman to begin the game, but he escaped that jam after Ozzie Albies grounded out to Tellez, who stepped on first and threw to the plate to retire Soler.
The first inning accounted for Atlanta’s only true scoring threat before Joc Pederson hit a solo homer off Adrian Houser in the eighth.
“I feel good going into Game 2, I got Max Fried pitching,” Snitker said. “I feel good every time he takes the mound for us.”