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Sabathia shuts down Braves

POSTED: August 6, 2008 5:01 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves pitcher Rafael Soriano, left, walks back to the mound as Milwaukee Brewers' Prince Fielder rounds third base after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning Saturday in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA — CC Sabathia was working on another complete game when Brewers manager Ned Yost decided to lift the big left-hander in the ninth inning.

The way Sabathia is going, it’s likely to happen his next time out anyway.

Sabathia pitched deep into the game in another terrific outing for Milwaukee and Prince Fielder hit two home runs Saturday, leading the Brewers to a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Sabathia struck out nine in 8 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He improved to 5-0 with a 1.88 ERA in six starts with Milwaukee, which acquired him from the Cleveland Indians last month.

“It’s been going well so far,” Sabathia said. “I just want to be able to keep us in games.”

The Brewers equaled a club record with their ninth straight road win and stayed four games back of NL Central-leading Chicago, which beat Pittsburgh 5-1 on Saturday. Milwaukee has won the first two games of its series with Atlanta after being swept in a four-game series at home against the Cubs.

Sabathia, looking for his fourth complete game with the Brewers, departed after Omar Infante led off the ninth with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. He threw 109 pitches.

“I don’t want him to throw 125 pitches every time out,” Yost said. “It’s senseless. I don’t mind 110.”

Sabathia said he wanted to finish but understood why Yost replaced him with Salomon Torres.

“When he came to take me out, I wasn’t surprised,” Sabathia said.

Torres got the final two outs for his 21st save in 25 attempts, yielding a two-out RBI single to Kelly

Johnson before retiring Clint Sammons on a flyball to center to end the game.

Charlie Morton (2-5) set down 15 straight Brewers after Craig Counsell’s leadoff single in the second, but Fielder led off the seventh with his 24th home run, tying it at 1. Corey Hart followed with a bunt single, took second on a groundout and scored on a two-out double by Jason Kendall.

Fielder hit a two-run drive off Rafael Soriano in the eighth, and has homered in four straight games.

“I just swing hard and try to hit it,” Fielder said. “I don’t know how to swing easy. All I try to do is keep my head on the ball, but that’s the same with everybody. If you keep your head on it, you’ll hit it.”

Atlanta has lost seven of eight.

Morton, making his ninth start, went seven innings, the longest of his brief career. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits.

“It was a confidence builder, a big step,” Morton said. “I just hope I can build on it. My first five outings, it was hard to realize I was pitching in the big leagues. Today it was more of a feeling that it was just a baseball game. It was the first time I felt like that.”

Sabathia (5-0), who surrendered a run-scoring single to Casey Kotchman in the first, went on his own streak, retiring 12 straight after giving up a leadoff single to Johnson in the second. The streak ended when Martin Prado singled to open the sixth.



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