ATLANTA – Matt Olson says it's no mystery why he's leading the majors in RBIs.
In Atlanta's powerful lineup, Olson is often hitting with runners on base.
Olson drove in five runs with two homers, including a two-run shot in the eighth, and the Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6 on Sunday to cap their sweep of the high-scoring series.
Olson has 35 homers, tops in the NL, and 88 RBIs. The Braves scored 29 runs in the three-game sweep in the matchup of NL contenders.
“There’s always dudes on base,” Olson said. “I feel like I'm rarely taking at-bats with the bases empty.”
The only player in the majors with more homers than Olson is Shohei Ohtani, with 39. Ohtani will bring the Los Angeles Angels into Atlanta for a series beginning Monday night.
With the sweep, the Braves won five of six against the Brewers in the last two weeks, including two of three in Milwaukee on July 21-23.
“You know you're probably not shutting them out,” said Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich, who homered and drove in two runs.
Yelich said a “back-and-forth game” is likely against Atlanta. Sure enough, the Brewers lost despite holding leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 6-5.
“To keep roaring back, it's a testament to how tough these guys are,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Atlanta (67-36) leads the NL East by 11 1/2 games over Miami. Milwaukee’s loss coupled with Cincinnati’s win at the Dodgers dropped the Brewers (57-49) into second in the NL Central.
Orlando Arcia led off the eighth with a double to left against Milwaukee's Joel Payamps (4-2). With one out, Olson's tiebreaking 35th homer landed in the Atlanta bullpen in right-center.
Payamps entered with a string of 17 consecutive scoreless appearances. He had allowed just seven hits in his last 18 innings.
Kirby Yates (5-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Raisel Iglesias earned his 20th save by striking out the side in the ninth.
Olson's three-run homer lifted the Braves to a 5-3 lead in the third. He drove in Ronald Acuña Jr., who singled and stole second, and Austin Riley, who walked.
Collin McHugh blew the 5-3 lead by giving up three runs in the sixth. William Contreras doubled in two runs for Milwaukee.
Atlanta's Marcell Ozuna tied the game at 6 with his homer off Hoby Milner.
Riley continued his power surge for Atlanta by hitting his eighth homer in the last 11 games in the first, giving him 24 on the year. The two-run shot off Colin Rea carried 463 feet to left-center.
Rea allowed five runs in five innings.
Carlos Santana, acquired from Pittsburgh on Saturday, hit his first homer with the Brewers in the third. The liner over the right-field wall gave Milwaukee a 3-2 lead. Yelich led off the third with his 16th homer.
Atlanta added veteran infielder Nicky Lopez in a trade with the Kansas City Royals. The Braves sent left-hander Taylor Hearn to Kansas City for the 28-year-old Lopez, who can play shortstop, second base and third.
Atlanta rookie AJ Smith-Shawver, recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game, allowed three runs and four hits in five innings.
“He's got a great way about him,” Snitker said of the 20-year-old right-hander. “There's no panic in him. ... There's tremendous upside for him as he figures things out.”
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Thanks to Riley's homer, the Braves have scored 109 first-inning runs, the most in the majors by any team in any inning. The Texas Rangers' 90 fourth-inning runs are second on the list.
“We come in ready to swing and ready to do damage,” Ozuna said.
Brewers: LHP Wade Miley (left elbow) will come off the 15-day injured list to start Wednesday night at Washington. ... RHP Brandon Woodruff (right shoulder) will pitch for Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday. ... RHP Julio Teheran (right hip impingement) was placed on the 15-day IL. RHP Peter Strzelecki was recalled from Nashville.
Brewers: RHP Corbin Burnes (9-6, 3.46 ERA) is scheduled to pitch Monday night's opener of a three-game series at Washington against RHP Jake Irvin (3-5, 4.96 ERA).
Braves: Atlanta opens an interleague series against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night. Braves RHP Charlie Morton (10-8, 3.57 ERA) faces RHP Griffin Canning (6-4, 4.46 ERA). Morton is 4-1 with a 3.83 ERA in 10 career starts against the Angels.