Campillo outpitches Sheets as Braves blank Brewers
Campillo struck out six in seven innings and the Atlanta Braves beat Ben Sheets and the Milwaukee Brewers 5-0 on Sunday to avoid a series sweep.
Campillo, a native of Tijuana, Mexico, and a veteran of eight seasons in the Mexican League, cut short his pregame routine with temperatures in the 90s at Turner Field and improved to 3-0 in his last five starts.
"I try not to throw a lot of pitches in the bullpen," Campillo said of hot days. "Save it for the game."
Campillo (6-4) struck out six, walked none and lowered his ERA to 2.58. He is 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA in 13 appearances in day games, including seven starts.
"He has one of the best changeups I've ever seen," Brewers manager Ned Yost. "He throws an 86 fastball that looks like a 95."
Jeff Bennett and Will Ohman pitched the eighth, and Mike Gonzalez got three outs to complete the seven-hitter.
The loss snapped the Brewers' nine-game road winning streak, which tied for the longest in franchise history. Milwaukee fell five games behind the NL Central-leading Cubs.
Sheets (10-5) surrendered two earned runs and six hits in six innings, falling to 1-4 in seven starts since a dominant 4-1 complete-game victory in Atlanta on June 24.
"I feel like I've been kind of struggling lately," Sheets said, adding he can't explain the slump.
Campillo and fellow rookie Jair Jurrjens have been key performers in a rotation missing Tim Hudson and John Smoltz due to season-ending injuries. Hudson confirmed Saturday he will have season-ending elbow surgery; Smoltz already has had shoulder surgery.
"I came here for an opportunity and I want to stay here in the starting rotation," Campillo said. "I don't care if it's No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 5."
Campillo stranded runners on second and third in the seventh by striking out Jason Kendall and pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks. The right-hander helped create the jam with a throwing error after fielding a bunt by Gabe Kapler.
"Campillo, again, pitched an unbelievable ballgame," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He clutched it up in that one inning when they had runners on second and third and one out. ... To get out of that jam and not give up one run is really something."
Mark Kotsay and Omar Infante had run-scoring doubles in the Braves' two-run first inning. Sheets threw 36 pitches in the inning.
"This may sound stupid, but I thought that was one of Ben's better outings for a while," Yost said. "He pitched six innings and kept us in the game. ... He didn't have a finishing pitch."
Campillo reached on third baseman Russell Branyan's error in the fifth and scored on Yunel Escobar's groundout. Escobar added a run-scoring single off Seth McClung in the seventh.
McClung walked three, hit Casey Kotchman with a pitch and allowed two runs in 1 1-3 innings. Jeff Francoeur singled in Kotchman in the eighth.
The Braves, who scored only two runs in losing the first two games of the series, earned only their second win in their last nine games.
Notes: The Braves announced after the game RHP Rafael Soriano will return to the 15-day disabled list for the third time this season with right elbow inflammation. The team will purchase the contract of left-hander Francisley Bueno from Triple-A Richmond. Bueno will join the team on Monday in San Francisco. ... Gregor Blanco had a double and three walks as Atlanta's leadoff hitter. ... Cox said C Brian McCann, recovering from a mild concussion, will start Monday at San Francisco after missing seven starts. ... The Brewers suffered their first road loss since July 3 at Arizona. ... Umpire Jerry Crawford missed his second straight game after leaving Friday night's game with a sore back. Plate umpire Chad Fairchild again filled in.
Last updated: 10:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012