LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tommy La Stella put together his second straight three-hit game and fourth since making his major league debut in late May. Freddie Freeman broke out of his slump, too. Their offense just wasn’t enough to keep Atlanta’s winning streak going.
The Braves twice blew leads in losing 8-4 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night, when their winning streak ended at three games.
Freeman, who went 2 for 4, put Atlanta back in front 3-2 in the third with a two-run homer. He came in just 7 for 41 in 11 games since the All-Star break. La Stella tied his career high with three hits and reached base four times.
Anthony Varvaro (3-3) took the loss, giving up three runs and four hits in one relief inning.
Braves starter Aaron Harang faced the Dodgers for the first time since pitching for them in 2012. The right-hander yielded four runs and nine hits in six innings, struck out three and walked one after going 4-0 in his previous six outings.
“They have veteran hitters all the way throughout that lineup and guys who can definitely make things happen and get key hits when they need to,” Harang said.
Matt Kemp hit a pair of two-run homers and Yasiel Puig had four hits with two runs scored in the Dodgers’ fourth straight win.
Puig came up a home run short of hitting for the cycle, lifting his team-leading average to .317 despite getting hit on the head by the ball while sliding head-first in the seventh. He struck out in his final at-bat.
Los Angeles rallied from a two-run deficit to tie it 4-all on an RBI double by Adrian Gonzalez and a RBI single by Carl Crawford in the fifth.
“I got Gonzalez 0-2 and tried to go into him above his hands, but I just didn’t get it up high enough and he was able to get the bat on the ball,” Harang said.
That set the stage for outfielders Crawford and Kemp to put the Dodgers ahead in the seventh.
Crawford had an RBI groundout to second base and Kemp followed with his second two-run shot over the center field fence for a 7-4 lead. Gonzalez doubled in another run in the eighth.
Brandon League (2-2) got the victory in one inning of relief, allowing one hit and one walk. Kenley Jansen got four outs for his 31st save.
Dodgers starter Josh Beckett struggled through another outing. The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings, struck out two and walked one in dropping to 0-5 in his last six home starts.
Braves: Right fielder Jason Heyward was out of the lineup with lingering soreness in his lower back after straining himself while chasing a foul ball last Thursday. Rookie reliever Shae Simmons was placed on the 15-day DL with a sore shoulder. The team recalled reliever Juan Jaime from Triple-A Gwinnett to take the roster spot of Simmons, who accompanied the team for the start of an eight-game, three-city road trip.
Dodgers: Left-hander Scott Elbert was reinstated from the 60-day DL and designated him for assignment. He made 15 rehab appearances, including two starts for Rookie-advanced Ogden, Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Albuquerque as he worked his way back from Tommy John surgery last year. Elbert was 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA for those minor league affiliates. He last pitched in the majors in August 2012.
Braves: Left-hander Alex Wood (7-8) starts for the Braves in the middle game of the series. He has pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings in two career games against the Dodgers, allowing one hit and striking out three.
Dodgers: Zack Greinke (12-5) starts for the Dodgers. The right-hander is 6-1 at home with a 2.73 ERA and holds opposing batters to a .222 batting average. He is 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA in three career starts against the Braves.
Freeman prevented three throwing errors from shortstop Andrelton Simmons by scooping out low throws – one on a grounder by Dee Gordon with a runner at third to end the second inning, another by Beckett in the fourth, and another by Hanley Ramirez in the fifth just before Crawford’s RBI double. Simmons has 10 errors this season.
Newly acquired second baseman Darwin Barney could join the Dodgers by Wednesday. He was acquired in a trade with the Cubs on Monday for a player to be named. Barney will give the team depth off the bench. He won a Gold Glove in 2012, but was let go by Chicago after hitting .230 with 16 RBIs in 72 games this season.