ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Ben Sheets had nothing to do with this deluge of strikeouts.
Brewers batters struck out 26 times, tying the major league record set by the Angels on July 9, 1971, in a 20-inning game against Oakland. Geoff Jenkins, who went 0-for-7, tied a big league mark by striking out six times.
“I knew there were a lot of strikeouts in the game, but I didn’t know it was that many,” said Anaheim reliever Scot Shields, who fanned four in two innings. “We were just trying not to let them score.”
“Strikeouts aren’t a good record to have, but they came in a win. So you can turn the page pretty easily,” said Craig Counsell, who scored the game’s only run. “I’ve never seen a game like that before, and I probably never will again.”
The 17 innings matched the high for an interleague game, first done by Florida in a 4-3 win over Toronto on June 8, 1998, and matched last June 27 when Philadelphia beat Baltimore 4-2.
It was the first scoreless major league game to reach the 17th inning since Arizona beat San Francisco 1-0 in 18 innings.
“In those extra-inning games, that last hit to drive in a run is always the toughest one to get. That’s why you see games like this,” Counsell said.
Less than 2 1/2 weeks after striking out 18 at Atlanta, Sheets retired his first 20 batters before Vladimir Guerrero grounded a clean single through the left side. The only other batter to get on against Sheets was Amezaga, who reached on an error in the ninth.
“You can’t throw any better than Benny threw,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “Even the pitch that Guerrero hit for the base hit was a good pitch. The ball was down.”
The win went to Matt Kinney (3-3), who pitched one inning and allowed one hit. Dan Kolb got three outs for his 16th save in 17 tries, ending the game after 4 hours, 46 minutes.
The Angels’ ninth loss in 13 games dropped them into a first-place tie with Oakland in the AL West. They haven’t scored in 32 consecutive innings since Chone Figgins’ two-run homer against Cleveland’s Joe Dawley in the third inning of Saturday’s 3-2 loss.
Milwaukee stranded the go-ahead run at second base in the 10th, 11th, 12th and 15th innings against a bullpen missing injured closer Troy Percival.
Sheets, who made only 87 pitches through the first eight innings, got into trouble in the ninth after second baseman Junior Spivey booted Amezaga’s leadoff grounder for the first of his three errors. Amezaga advanced on a wild pitch one out later, but was stranded when Figgins popped out and DaVanon struck out on a 3-2 pitch.
Sheets, who struck out five, was pitching for the first time in 12 days after missing a turn in the rotation because of a viral infection.
“It’s been a while. I didn’t enjoy missing a turn, so I hope it doesn’t happen again,” Sheets said. “Maybe I was a little more unhittable in the 18-strikeout game, but this one was better because I didn’t give up a run. There’s no way possible to lose if you don’t give up a run.”
Anaheim’s Kelvim Escobar allowed four hits and a walk over eight innings andtied a career high with 11 strikeouts.
After the game, the Angels activated Tim Salmon from the disabled list and optioned OF Robb Quinlan to Triple-A Salt Lake. Salmon hasn’t played since April 29 because of soreness in his left knee. … Milwaukee’s Bill Hall pinch hit for Chad Moeller in the 15th and singled to snap an 0-for-17 slide. Kotchman snapped an 0-for-18 drought with a two-out single in the 15th. …Sheets walked none for the seventh time in 12 starts this season.