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


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


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


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