ATLANTA -- Ben Sheets felt just fine this time. He always seems to perk up when facing the Atlanta Braves.
After lasting only one inning in his last start, Sheets made it to the eighth Saturday night for the Milwaukee Brewers, who got homers from Bill Hall and Prince Fielder in an 8-5 victory over the Braves.
Sheets improved to 5-1 with a 3.02 ERA in his last six starts against the Braves, piling up 60 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings.
"It wasn't great, but it was good," he said. "I'm taking it start by start."
Sheets (3-4) has been slowed all season by injuries. He left his previous appearance after the first when his right pectoral muscle tightened up, and the Brewers sent an extra pitcher to warm up before the game just in case he had more problems.
Not to worry. Sheets retired the first nine hitters before Pete Orr led off the fourth with a double. By then, the Brewers already had a 5-0 lead.
"He doesn't look like he came off a pectoral muscle (injury) or whatever," Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur said. "He looks like he's fine. I still say he's got the best curveball in the league, by far. We just weren't able to jump on it at all until a little later in the game."
Sheets tired in the eighth, giving up three hits on three pitches to start things off, and the Braves pushed across three runs to close to 7-5. But Francisco Cordero struck out Francoeur with the bases loaded and Tony Graffanino provided some insurance with an RBI double in the ninth.
"It wasn't much of a setback in his last start. He just felt a slight little strain," manager Ned Yost said. "This is the way Benny is capable of pitching. That last one was just a bump in the road. I'm not surprised he came back strong."
Cordero gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth, but he struck out Orr and Marcus Giles for his sixth save with the Brewers and 12th overall.
Kevin Barry (0-1) made his first major league start for Atlanta, which is struggling to get by with three members of its rotation on the disabled list. The rookie right-hander didn't last long, yanked with one out in the fourth after surrendering seven hits, five runs and three walks.
"I just made two bad pitches and I paid for it," Barry said in a generous self-assessment.
The Brewers jumped ahead right away. Graffanino walked with one out in the first, Fielder singled to center and Kevin Mench brought them both home with a double down the left-field line.
Barry ran into more trouble in the second, but the defense bailed him out. Graffanino's drive into the gap was cut off Scott Thorman, and relay man Edgar Renteria threw out Damian Miller at the plate.
The Brewers didn't let up. Hall hit his 26th homer in the third, a two-run shot, to make it 4-0. Brady Clark finished off Barry the next inning with a run-scoring triple, and Fielder started the fifth with his 22nd homer, off Oscar Villareal, to make it 6-1.
Orr, filling in at third for Chipper Jones and Willy Aybar, had three hits -- a homer short of the cycle -- and was in the middle of things every time the Braves scored.
After getting the first hit off Sheets, Orr wound up scoring on Renteria's groundout. In the sixth, the leadoff hitter tripled into the right-field corner to drive home another run. And his infield hit in the eighth -- he beat out a slow roller with a headfirst slide -- helped the Braves push across three runs.
Matt Diaz's pinch-hit single knocked in the first, and Orr's hit loaded the bases with no outs. Marcus Giles had a sacrifice fly and Cordero walked two straight, including Brian McCann with the bases loaded, to give the Braves a chance.
But Francoeur, who came through with the game-winning hit in the ninth on Friday, struck out on three pitches, flailing away at the last two as they swept far outside the strike zone.
"If you could do it every time you'd be ... like Babe Ruth was in the '20s," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
Atlanta continued to struggle at Turner Field, dropping to 24-31 this season in a stadium where they've played so well over the years. The Braves actually have a better record (29-31) on the road.
Jones wrapped up his injury rehab stint at Double-A Mississippi by going 1-for-2 with a run scored. He is scheduled to come off the DL on Sunday after recovering from a strained oblique in his left side. ... The Braves will make room for Jones by putting Aybar on the DL. He's got a broken bone in his left hand. ... Mench has 10 RBI in 12 games since coming over from Texas in a trade. ... Barry was the 11th starter used by the Braves this season. ... Orr's three hits tied a career high.
|Players of the Game|
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|Brady Clark, CF||4||1||1||1||0||1||1|
|Tony Graffanino, 2B||4||2||3||1||1||0||2|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||3||2||2||1||2||0||0|
|Kevin Mench, LF||5||1||3||3||0||0||1|
|Bill Hall, SS||4||1||2||2||1||1||2|
|Corey Hart, RF||5||0||0||0||0||1||5|
|David Bell, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2|
|Damian Miller, C||3||1||1||0||1||1||0|
|Ben Sheets, P||4||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Brian Shouse, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jose Capellan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Francisco Cordero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2B - Tony Graffanino 2 (, Barry, Baez), Kevin Mench (, Barry), Damian Miller (, Barry)|
|3B - Brady Clark (, Barry)|
|HR - Prince Fielder (, Villarreal), Bill Hall (, Barry)|
|RBI - Brady Clark (), Tony Graffanino (), Prince Fielder (), Kevin Mench 3 (), Bill Hall 2 ()|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Ben Sheets (W,-)||7||6||5||5||0||8||0|
|Jose Capellan (H,)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Francisco Cordero (S,)||1.1||1||0||0||3||3||0|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ben Sheets 86-59, Brian Shouse 1-1, Jose Capellan 4-2, Francisco Cordero 39-19|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ben Sheets 8-5|
|Batters Faced - Ben Sheets 27, Brian Shouse 1, Jose Capellan 2, Francisco Cordero 8|
|Pete Orr, 3B||5||1||3||1||0||1||2|
|Marcus Giles, 2B||4||0||0||1||0||1||4|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||4||0||0||1||0||1||3|
|Andruw Jones, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|Brian McCann, C||3||0||0||1||1||1||0|
|Tony Pena, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Todd Pratt, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||4||0||0||0||0||3||3|
|Danys Baez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||3||1||1||0||1||2||0|
|Scott Thorman, LF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1|
|Kevin Barry, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Oscar Villarreal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|a- Ryan Langerhans, PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Ken Ray, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chad Paronto, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|b- Matt Diaz, PH-RF||2||1||2||1||0||0||0|
|a-doubled for Villarreal in the 6th|
|b-singled for Paronto in the 8th|
|2B - Pete Orr (, Sheets), Adam LaRoche (, Sheets), Ryan Langerhans (, Sheets)|
|3B - Pete Orr (, Sheets)|
|SF - Marcus Giles ()|
|RBI - Pete Orr (), Marcus Giles (), Edgar Renteria (), Brian McCann (), Matt Diaz ()|
|2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann ()|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1, Scott Thorman 1|
|DP - Francoeur-McCann, Renteria-Giles-LaRoche|
|Kevin Barry (L,-)||3.1||7||5||5||3||1||1|
|IBB - Fielder by Danys Baez|
|HBP - Clark (by Danys Baez)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Barry 69-43, Oscar Villarreal 25-22, Ken Ray 17-8, Chad Paronto 11-7, Danys Baez 31-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Barry 4-4, Oscar Villarreal 3-2, Ken Ray 1-0, Chad Paronto 3-1, Danys Baez 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Kevin Barry 19, Oscar Villarreal 8, Ken Ray 4, Chad Paronto 5, Danys Baez 6|
|Attendance - 40480|
|Game Time - 2:51|
|Temperature - 71|
|Umpires - Home - Dale Scott, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Lance Barksdale|