05/16/2004 4:28 PM ET
Sheets fires 18-K gem at Braves
Sheet shatters Brewers' single-game strikeout record
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Ben Sheets set a Brewers record with 18 strikeouts and held the Atlanta Braves to three hits in his first complete game of the year, leading the Brewers to a 4-1 win in front of 20,654 fans at Miller Park.
|Ben Sheets struck out the side in the fifth, eighth and ninth innings. (Peter Zuzga/AP)
First baseman Lyle Overbay had three hits including a two-run double in the Brewers' three-run first inning as Milwaukee avoided a three-game Braves sweep.
With his first victory since April 20, Sheets improved to 4-2 this season including 3-0 in starts following a Brewers loss with a 1.55 ERA (five earned runs in 29 innings). Jaret Wright (2-4) took the loss for Atlanta.
Sheets struck out the side in the fifth, eighth and ninth innings to shatter the Brewers' strikeout record. The previous mark was 14, set by right-hander Moose Haas against the New York Yankees on April 12, 1978. Sheets' career high before Saturday was 10, which he accomplished twice this season.
On Saturday he was staked to an early lead. The first three Brewers hitters reached before Geoff Jenkins put Milwaukee on the board with a sacrifice fly. Overbay followed with his Major League-leading 21st double over left fielder DeWayne Wise's head, scoring a pair of runs and extending Overbay's hitting streak to 17 games.
Sheets never gave it back. He surrendered a leadoff double to Wise but retired the next 15 Braves in order before walking Nick Green in the sixth. The Braves went hitless until Andruw Jones pounded an 0-and-2 pitch over the center field wall with two outs in the seventh.
Sheets struck out the side in the fifth inning, the last two hitters on six straight strikes, and did it again in the eighth, when he pushed over the 100-pitch mark and in the ninth.
Through his first five innings Sheets had already tied his career high of 10 strikeouts on 59 pitches including only 12 balls. He struck out the first two hitters in the seventh to set a new personal best. He tied Haas with strikeout No. 14 (pinch-hitter Chipper Jones) for the second out in the eighth and got Wise on three pitches to end the inning and set a new franchise record.
Only six Braves hitters looked at first-pitch balls all day, and Sheets rebounded to strike five of them out.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.