Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

Atlanta won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, May 14
Atlanta2Final
Milwaukee0
Game 2: Saturday, May 15
Atlanta11Final
Milwaukee6
Game 3: Sunday, May 16
Atlanta1Final
Milwaukee4

Braves 1

(17-19, 9-12 away)

Brewers 4

(19-18, 11-9 home)

2:05 PM ET, May 16, 2004

Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

123456789 R H E
ATL 000000100 1 3 0
MIL 30000010 - 4 8 0

W: B. Sheets (4-2)

L: J. Wright (2-4)

Sheets has most K's in game since 2001

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Everything was working for Ben Sheets on Sunday, even the shadows.

Sheets struck out a franchise-record 18 -- the most in the majors in three years -- leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

"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, against Cincinnati.

"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 Cincinnati.

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 do."

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 concoction.

"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 innings.

Bill Hall's groundout to reliever C.J. Nitkowski drove in Scott Podsednik from third base in the bottom of the seventh to make it 4-1 and played a big role in Sheets' final strikeout total.

"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 blur."

Just like his pitches that befuddled the Braves all afternoon.

Game notes


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 Indianapolis.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES