PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Ben Sheets dominated early and was gutsy getting out of jams late. Then Milwaukee turned his near no-decision into another win thanks to a couple of bungled balls.
Sheets pitched nine innings for the second straight start and Milwaukee took advantage of two Philadelphia errors on the same base hit in the 10th inning to beat the Phillies 3-1 on Friday night.
“This is kind of what we’ve been doing the last two weeks,” manager Ned Yost said.
After rallying for two dramatic wins against the Mets, the Brewers late-inning excitement carried over to Philadelphia.
Right fielder Bobby Abreu was charged with an error when he one-hopped a throw to second baseman Chase Utley. Utley got the other error when his wild relay throw bounced into the dugout, allowing Hall and Miller to score for a 3-1 lead.
“If you want to win games, you can’t do that,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Coming off a complete-game victory in his last start against San Francisco, Sheets (8-7) improved to 5-1 in his last eight starts. He allowed four hits, struck out seven and threw 82 of 126 pitches for strikes.
“I feel good, no doubt,” Sheets said. “It’s a good feeling whenever they hand you the ball and expect you to go deep into the game.”
The innings-eating start was sorely needed. With a depleted and tired Brewers bullpen, Matt Wise pitched the 10th for his first career save at any level of professional ball.
The Brewers (55-55) moved to .500 for the first time since May 28 and it’s the latest they’ve been even this late in the season since Aug. 6, 1998.
“We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves,” Miller said. “Now we’ve got some fight and guys are starting to believe in each other. Things are working out for us in the second half.”
It took Sheets deftly pitching his way out of jams in the eighth and ninth to give the Brewers a shot at .500.
In the ninth, Pat Burrell lined Sheets’ 121st pitch the opposite way down the first base line for a one-out double. Pinch-runner Kenny Lofton moved to third on a groundout, but was left stranded when David Bell flied out to center.
“If we don’t get out there, we don’t get to play the 10th,” Sheets said.
Sheets ran into trouble in the eighth, putting two runners on with two outs. Utley’s sharp grounder to first was momentarily bobbled by Lyle Overbay—and the crowd gasped in anticipation—but he recovered and flipped the ball to Sheets covering.
After a three-game series against the New York Mets in which the Brewers had 26 hits and scored 50 runs, they managed seven hits against three pitchers.
Geoff Jenkins’ 16th homer in the second off Cory Lidle put the Brewers up 1-0. The shot also ended a visitor’s dry spell as the Chicago Cubs left a three-game series as just the second visiting team to ever go homerless in a series in Citizens Bank Park.
Abreu led off the seventh with a homer to right, his 20th of the season and second in two games after going 25 straight without one. With 23 stolen bases this year, Abreu joined Barry and Bobby Bonds as the only players with 20 homers and 20 steals in seven straight seasons.
Sheets held the Phillies hitless for 5 2-3 innings until Jason Michaels hit a tough one-hopper deep in the hole that hit off the glove of second baseman Rickie Weeks. Weeks slammed his glove against the grass while Sheets gave no reaction.
“For about five innings, he breezed,” Manuel said. “He didn’t overexert himself. This his fastball seemed even better.”
For most of the game, Sheets was evenly matched by Lidle.
After going 1-3 in four straight horrendous starts, Lidle pitched one of his best games of the season. He kept the ball down and was in the strike zone all game, walking none and striking out nine in eight innings.
Phillies 1B Jim Thome will join Class-A Clearwater this weekend for a rehab assignment. Thome is expected to DH because of right elbow tendinitis that has affected his throwing. “He’ll try to throw some time this weekend,” manager Charlie Manuel said. … Former Phillies C Bob Boone was inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame. … The Phillies recalled LHP Eude Brito from Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre and optioned INF Matt Kata to Scranton. … Geary’s loss was his first in 62 career appearances. … The Brewers are 3-5 in extra inning games; the Phillies are 5-2.