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Brewers' Sheets twirls five-hitter, shuts out Nationals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Ben Sheets went the distance to ensure his first victory in more than a month.

Sheets pitched a five-hitter for his first win since July 4, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over the Washington Nationals 6-0 Saturday night.

Sheets (11-5) tied teammate CC Sabathia for the NL lead in complete games with four. He struck out six and helped extend the Nationals' scoreless streak to 22 innings. Sabathia's fourth complete game came Friday when he stopped the Nationals 5-0.

"That guy was tough and that guy yesterday was tough, too," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "That's frontline pitching right there. He (Sheets) was overpowering."

Sheets' assessment of his success following Sabathia's was a bit more humble.

"That's good," said Sheets who threw 113 pitches, 78 for strikes, in his third career shutout. "We need that. I'm just glad to get past the sixth inning again."

He went six innings in his previous start and 5 1/3 the one before that. Both were losses.

Ray Durham and J.J. Hardy hit back-to-back homers off Washington starter Tim Redding (8-7) in the fourth for the Brewers, who moved four games behind the Cubs after Chicago lost 12-3 to St. Louis.

Corey Hart hit a solo shot in the fifth as Milwaukee won for the sixth time in eight games after losing five straight.

Acta said that Redding pitched behind while he was out there, and it cost him.

"This is not the club you want to pitch behind," Acta said. "They've got some guys that can bang the ball around."

The only bad news for Milwaukee was the loss of All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun. He left the game in the bottom of the third because of tightness in his lower back.

"I took kind of an awkward swing," he said. "I think it might be some kind of muscle spasm or something. I couldn't breathe. So, we'll see how it feels tomorrow morning."

Sheets went a stretch of six starts before earning the victory, winning for the first time since the Brewers acquired Sabathia on July 7.

Sheets scattered three hits over the first seven innings then gave up two more in the eighth.

"Everything was a little sharper," Sheets said of his command and control. "I made some adjustments and the adjustments paid off."

Ron Belliard, who singled leading off the third, led off the eighth with a hit. Willie Harris followed with a double to the wall but Sheets retired the next three batters.

For Sheets, the key was getting the ball in play early in the count and let the defense take it from there.

"I'd rather put a good pitch in play, make one good pitch to a batter and get an out," he said. "Sometimes when they swing and miss, you have to do three of them."

Pinch-hitter Pete Orr's double over the head of left fielder Gabe Kapler in the sixth and a single by Lastings Milledge in the seventh were Washington's other hits.

Sheets made it 6-0 with a run-scoring blooper into short-center field. Jason Kendall doubled and scored on Sheets' fifth RBI this season.

With the victory, the four-time All-Star right-hander avoided losing three straight starts since dropping a career-worst five straight April 9-June 2, 2005.

Hardy hit his 17th homer of the season and second in two games, while Durham hit his first for the Brewers. Durham was acquired from San Francisco on July 20 for outfielder Darren Ford and lefty Steve Hammond.

Kapler pinch-hit for Braun and drove in the Brewers' first run with an RBI single in the bottom of the third. Hart added a sacrifice fly.

Redding allowed five runs and seven hits over five innings. He walked five and struck out three, losing his bid for consecutive road victories for the first time since winning his first three road starts to open the season.

Notes

  • Milledge's single extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
  • A crowd of 42,974 gave the Brewers their 13th consecutive sellout and 29th this season.
  • The first four hitters in the Nationals' lineup went 0-for-16.
  • It was the 17th time this season the Nationals have been held scoreless.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Ben Sheets (right) earns his first win in a month with his fourth complete game this season.  (AP)
Ben Sheets (right) earns his first win in a month with his fourth complete game this season. (AP)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

J. Hardy
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Milwaukee

B. Sheets
IP 9.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 0
K 6
 
Washington Nationals
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B4000024 .269
Cristian Guzman, SS4000013 .298
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000010 .258
Austin Kearns, RF4000000 .221
Lastings Milledge, CF4010000 .253
Jesus Flores, C3000011 .277
Ronnie Belliard, 1B3020000 .244
Willie Harris, LF3010001 .251
Tim Redding, P1000011 .194
   a- Pete Orr, PH1010000 .244
    Steven Shell, P0000000 .000
   b- Ryan Langerhans, PH1000002 .254
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
Totals3205006  
a-doubled for Redding in the 6th
b-lined out for Shell in the 8th
Batting
2B - Willie Harris (10, Sheets), Pete Orr (2, Sheets)
SB - Ronnie Belliard (3, 2nd base off Sheets/Kendall)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Flores-Bonifacio
PB - Jesus Flores (8)
Washington Nationals
Tim Redding (L,8-7) 5755533 4.61
Steven Shell 2100020 2.28
Luis Ayala 1211010 5.87
IBB - Kendall by Tim Redding
WP - Tim Redding (7)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Redding 105-57, Steven Shell 33-19, Luis Ayala 23-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Redding 3-8, Steven Shell 1-3
Batters Faced - Tim Redding 26, Steven Shell 7, Luis Ayala 5
Milwaukee Brewers
Ray Durham, 2B4221101 .286
J.J. Hardy, SS5221022 .283
Ryan Braun, LF1000011 .300
   a- Gabe Kapler, PH-LF3011000 .310
Prince Fielder, 1B3010101 .279
Corey Hart, RF3112002 .284
Russell Branyan, 3B3010101 .252
Mike Cameron, CF3000124 .236
Jason Kendall, C3110101 .243
Ben Sheets, P4011013 .096
Totals32610656  
a-singled for Braun in the 3rd
Batting
2B - Ray Durham (27, Redding), Jason Kendall (22, Ayala)
HR - Ray Durham (4, Redding), J.J. Hardy (17, Redding), Corey Hart (17, Redding)
SF - Corey Hart (5)
RBI - Ray Durham (33), J.J. Hardy (51), Gabe Kapler (29), Corey Hart 2 (69), Ben Sheets (5)
2-OUT RBI - Ray Durham (9), J.J. Hardy (20)
CS - Ray Durham (3, 2nd base by Redding/Flores)
Team LOB - 8
Milwaukee Brewers
Ben Sheets (W,11-5) 9500060 2.95
Pitches-Strikes - Ben Sheets 113-78
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ben Sheets 11-10
Batters Faced - Ben Sheets 32
Game Information
Attendance - 42974
Game Time - 2:18
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Wally Bell