MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Everything was working for Ben Sheets on
Sunday, even the shadows.
"This place, with day games, hitters can't see the ball,"
Milwaukee catcher Chad Moeller said. "I was proof of that, also."
Moeller struck out four times, but it was all the strike 3s that
landed in his mitt that made this game so memorable.
"He woke up today with phenomenal stuff," Milwaukee manager
Ned Yost said of Sheets.
It was the most strikeouts by a big leaguer since Arizona's
Randy Johnson tied a major league record with 20 on May 8, 2001,
"I'm not a big strikeout guy, so this is all new to me. It's
pretty cool, though," said Sheets, whose previous career high was
10 strikeouts against Houston on April 10 and May 5 against
The previous franchise mark of 14 was set by Moose Haas on April
12, 1978, against the New York Yankees.
Sheets (4-2) threw a three-hitter in his fourth career complete
game and struck out six of the last seven batters he faced --
including all three in the ninth.
He was as efficient as he was effective, throwing just 116
pitches, 91 for strikes. He threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of the
first 20 hitters he faced.
"I've seen some pretty good outings, but that's definitely got
to be the most impressive," teammate Geoff Jenkins said. "He was
just power all day, using his fastball, curveball, just mixing
pitches. It seemed like he didn't throw a ball all day."
Sheets fanned every Braves starter except second baseman Nick
Green, who made his first major league start in place of Marcus
Giles, who broke his collarbone Saturday night.
Sheets surrendered a double to Dewayne Wise leading off the
game, then retired 15 straight before walking Green in the sixth --
the right-hander's only walk of the game.
With the shadows cutting right across the mound, Sheets struck
out the side in the fifth and was one pitch from repeating the feat
in the seventh when Andruw Jones tagged an 0-2 delivery for his
seventh homer, a 410-foot shot to center that made it 3-1. Sheets
struck out three more in the eighth, when Green singled.
"The way he was pitching, he could have thrown a no-hitter,"
Jones said. "When people pitch like that, there's nothing you can
Braves manager Bobby Cox twice went out in the ninth to let
plate umpire Doug Eddings know that he thought he was giving Sheets
too much of the outside part of the plate.
Still, Cox was thoroughly impressed by Sheets, who used his
curveball as an out pitch like never before.
"He was good. He was outstanding," Cox said. "He had
everything today. Our reports were good on him. He probably had the
best breaking ball we've seen all year."
Add the shadows at Miller Park and that's a devastating
"When that shadow comes in, it's definitely tougher," Jenkins
said. "You saw the at-bats weren't as good once that shadow came
in. Luckily, we scored our runs before the shadow came in. Once
Benny saw that shadow, too, he started pounding strikes home pretty
good because it was a lot tougher for guys to square a ball up."
Lyle Overbay extended his hitting streak to 17 games for the
Brewers, who avoided a three-game sweep.
Overbay's major league-leading 21st double, a two-run shot over
left fielder Wise in the first, gave him one more double than he
had last year in 86 games for Arizona. It followed Jenkins'
sacrifice fly and gave Milwaukee a 3-0 lead.
Right-hander Jaret Wright (2-4) also took advantage of the
shadows after that, allowing six hits and striking out seven in six
"I don't know if I'd have let him go back out with a two-run
lead in the ninth," Yost said.
Sheets and the crowd of 20,654 were glad he did.
"It was kind of a blur," Sheets said. "But it was a fun
Just like his pitches that befuddled the Braves all afternoon.
Adam LaRoche, who tied a major league record with four
doubles Saturday night, and Johnny Estrada, who went 5-for-5 in the
previous game, both went 0-for-4 against Sheets. ... The Brewers
placed RHP Ben Ford on the 15-day DL with right shoulder
tendinitis, and called up RHP Mike Andrews from Triple-A