08/01/08 11:49 PM ET
Brewers bounce back with blowout win
Crew responds to four-game sweep with big victory vs. Braves
By Ryan Lavner / MLB.com
Whatever it was, it was short-lived.
Jeff Suppan pitched seven shutout innings, Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron hit homers and the Brewers looked more like a contending playoff team with an emphatic 9-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, snapping a five-game losing streak.
"It's a nice win," said manager Ned Yost, whose team won its eighth consecutive road game, the second-longest streak in franchise history. "We can dramatize it all we want, but we came back and got a nice win on the road."
The hype and playoff-like atmosphere that engulfed Miller Park over the past week backfired on the Brewers, who were outscored by the Cubs, 31-11, in a four-game sweep. Milwaukee watched its division deficit balloon to five games.
"I don't think there was a waver in confidence," Cameron said. "I think today was a very good showing of when you get beat down for a few games and you get the opportunity to come out and make up for it the next day. Today was a good day for us to get back going in the right direction."
Yost spoke extensively before Friday night's game about the Brewers' need to "get away from the scene of the crime," or, in other words, leave town and never look back. A three-game road series against the injury-riddled Braves seemed to be the perfect opportunity to expedite that cleansing process.
"We were on the road anyway at home, so we were used to it," joked Fielder, referring to the 20,000 Cubs fans that packed Miller Park for this past week's series. "I forgot where we were for a second."
But the Braves aren't the Cubs, and haven't been since they were decimated with injuries over the past month. The Brewers responded accordingly.
Milwaukee scored six runs in the first three innings off left-hander Chuck James, who was recalled from the Braves' Triple-A affiliate before the game.
In the third inning, Fielder launched a solo homer that clanked off the railing in the lower pavilion. He stood and briefly admired his shot before beginning his slow trot around the bases.
"Just ran into one," Fielder said calmly.
Three batters later, Cameron scorched a two-run homer that barely cleared the right-center-field wall but was enough to give the Brewers a 6-0 lead.
"I put a good swing on it, man," Cameron said of the homer, his 16th of the season. "That's a good feeling to hit a ball that well and it goes out for a couple runs."
That homer was enough to chase James, who walked four in his first start for the Braves since May 15. The Brewers tacked on three more in the eighth off reliever Royce Ring to push their lead to 9-0.
That was more than enough support for Suppan, who scattered five hits over seven shutout innings, easily his most impressive start since he was reinstated from the disabled list on July 22. Previously bothered by joint irritation in his right elbow, Suppan showed no ill effects Friday and said the injury is progressing with every start he makes.
Suppan had allowed 11 runs in 13 innings, a span of two outings, since returning from the DL. The 33-year-old right-hander tied a season high by allowing eight runs on Sunday against the Astros.
Asked how he could explain such a drastic improvement, Suppan said, "I don't look at things that way. I think you have to look at the whole season. You don't look at one game as terrible and one game as great. If you went through the whole season like that, it'd be a long, long season."
Suppan ran into trouble in the fourth inning, when he walked the bases loaded. But after a talk with catcher Jason Kendall -- the details of which Suppan refused to reveal -- Suppan induced a lazy fly out to end the inning without incurring any damage. He retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced and went seven innings for the second time in his past three starts.
"He was dead-on his game," Yost said. "I was very, very proud of him for getting through seven innings. Our bullpen has been a little tired."
Ryan Lavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.