Brewers' Sabathia homers, pitches complete game
Sabathia homered in his first National League complete game to help Milwaukee avoid a sweep with a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Sabathia went deep off Reds starter Homer Bailey in the third, his third career home run and second this season. Sabathia became the first pitcher to hit home runs in both leagues in one season since Earl Wilson did it in 1970 for Detroit and San Diego, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
After allowing run-scoring sacrifice flies to David Ross in the second and Adam Dunn in the third, Sabathia (2-0) shut down Cincinnati, striking out nine batters, all from the fourth inning on. He struck out the side in the ninth.
"I kept us in the game, got out of some jams and pounded the strike zone after that," Sabathia said. "I just try to go out and help the team win."
Manager Ned Yost left Sabathia in for the ninth despite his high pitch count.
"He was at 111 pitches, but the lineup set up for him with all left-handers, except for (David) Ross," Yost said. "We sent him back out there just for that instance. With those left-handers, we felt good with CC on the mound."
Sabathia ended up throwing 122 pitches, 82 for strikes.
Dunn said that even though the Reds had faced Sabathia in the past, it didn't make batting against him any easier.
"He's probably one of the most consistent pitchers you'll ever face," Dunn said. "Everytime you face him, you know what you're going to get."
Sabathia improved to 4-0 in nine starts against Cincinnati. He beat them 6-0 on June 27 at Progressive Field.
The Brewers (52-43) head into the All-Star break in third place NL Central, five games behind Chicago and a half-game behind St. Louis.
The game was tied at 2 in the ninth when pinch-hitter Craig Counsell hit a game-winning sacrifice fly to help the Brewers avoid being a three-game sweep to end the first half of the season.
Bill Hall led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off David Weathers (2-5). Mike Cameron dropped down a bunt in front of the plate that Weathers grabbed and threw wildly to first. Hall alertly took off for third and beat the throw. Jason Kendall was walked intentionally.
Francisco Cordero replaced Weathers to face Counsell who hit a fly ball to right fielder Jay Bruce on the first pitch. Hall tagged up on the play and beat the throw home.
"CC brought the excitement, struck out the side in the ninth inning," Hall said. "We wanted to go out and give him a win in the ninth inning. So we had the excitement, we had the momentum. It's a great way to end the first half and, hopefully, it continues on Friday."
In his second start since being traded from Cleveland to Milwaukee, Sabathia pitched an eight-hitter, his fourth complete game of the season and 20th of his career. On Tuesday, he pitched six solid innings to beat the Rockies 7-3.
The Reds (46-50) lost leadoff hitter Jerry Hairston, who had to be carried off the field after straining his right hamstring running out a bunt single.
He led off the third inning by bunting toward third. About a quarter of the way there, he pulled up and limped across the bag. He made it to first safely, then fell over clutching his upper right leg.
Manager Dusty Baker, Joey Votto and trainer Mark Mann carried him off. Hairston will have an MRI in Cincinnati on Monday.
"I tweaked it a little bit," said Hairston who was also hit in the elbow while he tried to bunt leading off the game. "I think I was more scared than anything. My hamstring just locked up on me really, really bad. Maybe I'm not drinking enough water. I'm hoping that will be it."
Bailey, recalled from Triple-A Louisville before the game, matched up well with Sabathia early. He allowed two runs and five hits over 5 2-3 innings, didn't walk a batter and struck out four.
Bailey's only mistake was a 0-2 pitch in the third that Sabathia lined over the wall in right. Sabathia also went deep June 21, with Cleveland against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bailey left with a runner at first and 2-1 lead in the sixth, but the bullpen let him down. Reliever Bill Bray promptly walked Prince Fielder and then allowed a run-scoring double by Gabe Kapler.
Notes: @ A crowd of 42,108 was the Brewers' fourth consecutive sellout and 20th overall. ... Sabathia's homer extended the Brewers home-run streak to 13 games. ... Bailey was 4-7 with a 4.42 ERA in 16 starts at Louisville this year. ... Last season, the Brewers were 49-39 at the break. Cincinnati was 36-52.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.