When things are going badly at the plate, sometimes the best thing to do is to not think about it.
The Milwaukee Brewers took that approach Wednesday, with manager Ron Roenicke cancelling batting practice before their game against the Atlanta Braves in Turner Field.
The result? A couple of home runs, 10 hits and a 6-1 win over the Braves.
The Brewers (28-19) came into the game on a four-game losing streak, during which the Crew had hit just .157 and scored four runs while striking out 41 times.
Milwaukee didn’t take long to get to work against Braves starter Ervin Santana (4-2).
Carlos Gomez led off the game with a line single to left and Scooter Gennett drove a double to right field to send Gomez to third. After Ryan Braun popped up, Jonathan Lucroy walked to load the bases.
Mark Reynolds didn’t take long to unload them, ripping a first-pitch slider from Santana over the wall in left field for a grand slam.
It was Reynolds’ ninth home of the year and his third career grand slam. His last came last April 13, when he connected off Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale as a member of the Cleveland Indians. His only other one came on June 4, 2011, when he took Ricky Romero of the Toronto Blue Jays deep with the sacks packed while playing for the Baltimore Orioles.
Kyle Lohse did the rest.
Lohse (6-1) allowed only four hits over eight strong innings, giving up a run and striking out eight while not walking anyone.
The only run for Atlanta (25-20) also came early.
But that was all they would get off Lohse.
The Brewers extended the lead to 6-1 in the fourth. Lohse drew a two-out walk and, in the greatest traditions of baseball, Milwaukee made Santana pay for the cardinal sin of walking the pitcher, as Gomez drove a ball the opposite way for his team-leading 10th homer of the season.
Francisco Rodriguez, who hadn’t worked since saving Lohse’s win over the Cubs on Friday, allowed a hit and struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning.
The Braves finished with just five hits, three of them belonging to Justin Upton, who is an insanely hot 8-for-14 with three homers and seven RBI in his last four games.
The win improved Milwaukee’s mark on their current 10-game road trip to 2-4, with Lohse picking up both victories.
Gomez had three of the Brewers’ 10 hits, going 3-for-5. Gennett was 2-for-5 and Milwaukee also cut down its strikeouts, fanning just four times.
Entering the game, Milwaukee was batting a major-league worst .227 in May, so Roenicke opted to shake things up by cancelling BP, according to MLB.com.
“My gosh, we grind it,” Roenicke said. “We go out there and work hard on the field, in the cages. Just trying to do something different to get sparked and sometimes it works. Hopefully, it does.”
Six runs and 10 hits is certainly a nice start, although Reynolds’ grand slam was Milwaukee’s only hit in seven trips with runners in scoring position, leaving the Brewers 2-for-32 in those situations over their last five games.
The Brewers will try to salvage a split of the four-game set in Atlanta on Thursday at 6:10 p.m. Central. Matt Garza (2-4, 4.83 ERA) takes the hill for the Crew, while the Braves will counter with veteran right-hander Aaron Harang (4-4, 2.98 ERA).