Brewers 4, Braves 3

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MILWAUKEE (AP)—The Atlanta Braves, baseball’s best team, are sure glad they don’t have to face the sad-sack Milwaukee Brewers more often.

That’s because slugger Richie Sexson feasts on their pitching staff.

Sexson homered twice, leading the Brewers to a 4-3 victory over the Braves on Tuesday night.

In his only other multihomer game this season, Sexson had three homers in a 12-5 victory at Atlanta on April 25.

“Just timing,” Sexson said. “By no means is Atlanta Braves pitching just easy money.”

His teammates can attest to that. They were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, a matter made moot by Sexson’s two big swings.

“He gets the ball out over the plate, he’s going to crush it,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s hit us real good this year. He hits a lot of people good.”

With Milwaukee down 3-2 in the seventh and a runner on first after Geoff Jenkins drew a walk, Sexson hit a 430-foot shot off Darren Holmes (1-2) that hit the scoreboard in center field.

“I shouldn’t have fallen behind 3-and-1, I did,” Holmes said. “I walked the first guy. It’s a cardinal sin, walking the leadoff hitter with a one-run lead.”

Sexson’s second shot was even more impressive than his first.

He reached 30 homers for the third time in his career with a 425-foot solo shot off starter Horacio Ramirez in the fifth that gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead. It also came on a 3-and-1 fastball.

“He beat me with my best pitch,” Ramirez said. “I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror. My fastball inside is my best pitch. I’m not afraid to throw it to anybody.”

Mike DeJean (3-7) picked up the victory with two innings of hitless relief. Dan Kolb pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

Keith Ginter also homered for Milwaukee, which won for just the fifth time in 20 games at home against Atlanta since joining the National League in 1998.

“Anytime you can play the best team in baseball and start off a homestand with a win, it’s real big for us,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.

Sexson’s slugging took the edge off Yost’s disappointment over the Brewers’ lack of clutch hitting with runners in scoring position.

“It could have been extremely costly, but we scored enough runs to win the ballgame and we’ll worry about that tomorrow,” Yost said.

The Braves took a 3-2 lead in the sixth when Robert Fick hit a two-out, two-run triple off Matt Kinney and scored on Javy Lopez’s single.

Before giving up four hits in the sixth, Kinney had only allowed Gary Sheffield’s single in the fourth and a single by Ramirez in the fifth. Kinney walked two and struck out four in six innings.

He also got some help from left fielder Jenkins, who robbed Vinny Castilla of his 18th homer with a leaping grab above the wall in the fifth.

Ramirez scattered seven hits over six innings, walking four and striking out six. He stranded six Brewers in scoring position.

Ginter, whose eighth homer gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the sixth, swung at ball four—at eye-level—to strand the bases full in the third.

The Brewers’ lack of clutch hitting weighed on the Brewers’ mind.

“No doubt, especially with a team like Atlanta,” Sexson said. “When you get opportunities like we had early in the game, you have to take advantage of them.

“We were of course a little frustrated that we didn’t get it done early, but Matt and DeJean did a heck of a job going through the middle of the orderto keep us in the game and allow us to come back.”


: The Brewers signed 2B Rickie Weeks, the college player of the year and the No. 2 pick in the June amateur draft. He’ll report to the Arizona Rookie League on Wednesday. … Sexson is the sixth Brewers slugger to post two 30-homer seasons for Milwaukee. Last year, he hit 29 home runs. This was his14th career multihomer game.

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