Braves 4, Brewers 2

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ATLANTA (AP)—Jaret Wright made the most of a break from the summer heat, and looked comfortable on the mound for the Atlanta Braves.

Wright won his ninth straight decision and J.D. Drew hit a go-ahead homer to help the Braves beat Ben Sheets and the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Thursday night, with a game-time temperature of 78 degrees.

“It was nice to have it not 150 degrees, sweating even when you walk outside,” Wright said.

Wright improved to 11-5, and has not lost since May 22.

“Sure I know about it, but if I thought about it, it would take away from what I have to do,” he said. “I’ll enjoy tonight and look at my next start. That’s what I’ve been doing the whole time and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Atlanta improved to 20-6 since the All-Star break, and Wright has been a big factor in that.

He’s 10-2 in night games with a 1.81 ERA, best in the majors. Wright is one win from matching his career-best total of 12 with Cleveland in 1998.

“He’s had to adjust since then,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s had a couple of operations, and that will make you into a pitcher, not a thrower.”

Wright allowed only four hits and two runs—one earned—in seven innings.

Andruw Jones and Johnny Estrada also hit homers off Sheets (9-9), who gave up seven hits and four runs in eight innings. Sheets recorded strikeouts on his last eight outs to finish with 13.

“It wasn’t good enough,” Sheets said. “Strikeouts are fine, but strikeouts don’t overcome mistakes.”

Sheets said the Braves’ three homers “were bombs.” Drew’s shot, an estimated 445 feet, was the longest and most important, giving the Braves a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning.

“It’s not the distance that matters,” said Drew, who leads the Braves with 26 homers. “It was nice to get a pitch up in the zone like that. I think he was trying to come in a little bit more than he did.”

Sheets, who ranks among the NL leaders with his 2.74 ERA and 184 strikeouts, fell to 0-4 in six starts since the break.

The Braves won two of three from Milwaukee and have not lost a series in almost two months. They are 12-0-2 in their last 14 series since dropping two of three at Florida June 22-24.

In a matchup of NL division leaders, Atlanta will play host to St. Louis in a three-game series, beginning Friday night.

On May 16 in Milwaukee, Sheets struck out 18 Braves and allowed only three hits in a complete-game 4-1 win. Wright took the loss in that game, and also lost his next start and fell to 2-5 but has been unbeatable since.

Chris Reitsma struck out two in a scoreless eighth, and John Smoltz got three outs for his 28th save in 30 opportunities.

The Brewers gave Sheets a 1-0 lead in the second inning with an unearned run. With the bases loaded on walks to Lyle Overbay and Chris Magruder, sandwiched around a double by Brady Clark, Chad Moeller hit a one-out fly ball to Drew in right field.

Drew made the catch and threw a perfect, one-hop strike to the plate. Drew’s throw beat Overbay by several feet, but Estrada dropped the ball for an error, allowing Overbay to score.

Estrada made up for that with a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.

Milwaukee’s Geoff Jenkins led off the sixth with his 18th homer to tie it.

The Braves answered with Drew’s two-run shot in the sixth.

Jones made it 4-2 with his 18th homer in the seventh.

Notes

Drew’s shot matched the seventh-longest homer in Turner Field history. … After the game, the Brewers placed RHP Brooks Kieschnick on 15-day DL, retroactive to Aug. 9. Kieschnick has tendinitis in his right shoulder. The team called up LHP Jorge de la Rosa from Triple-A Indianapolis. … Overbay, who leads the Brewers with 56 walks, walked in his first two at-bats. … Estrada’s homer was his first since July 31. … Brewers manager Ned Yost benched Scott Podsednik and instead started Magruder, who had the go-ahead homer against the Braves on Tuesday night.

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