Braves deprive Brewers of a sweep
The best hitter in the big leagues has a new description for Jorge Campillo’s deceptive pitches.
“He’s throwing the invis-a-ball up there,” Chipper Jones said.
The only thing stopping the reliever-turned-starter now is painful blisters.
Campillo had his first career hit to score two, and Mark Teixeira homered and drove in four runs to lift the Atlanta Braves to an 8-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers here today
“Hitting is pretty good, but the way that I pitched feels better,” Campillo said.
That is, until a blister flared up. Campillo (2-0) left after six strikeouts over five innings when the callus on his right middle finger reopened, and said he’ll need to work hard to make his next start.
“We hope he’s going to make his next start,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “If he can give us five like that every time, that’s good enough. What a fantastic story Campy is.”
The 29-year-old right-hander earned his first win on May 20, but blisters began then and limited him to four innings in his last start on Saturday.
Milwaukee’s first four hitters—including Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun—went 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts on the day and the Brewers struck out 12 times overall.
“He had Prince talking to himself down there at first base,” Jones said. “It just goes to show you, you don’t have to throw the ball 95 mph. If you change speeds and locate with three or four different pitches, you can win and you can shut people down and you can frustrate people.”
Jones went 2-for-4 with two walks to raise his major league leading average to .420 and help the Braves avoid being swept for the third time this season.
“The guy’s hitting .420. He’s going to get walked,” said Teixeira, the beneficiary of Jones’ free passes. “I’ve never seen somebody this locked in for two months to start a season.”
But Jones has been the only Braves hitter on a tear recently. Atlanta gave up only five runs in Milwaukee, but still lost the first two of the series.
“We’re of the belief we should’ve won all three, certainly should’ve won the series,” Jones said. “The state of things around here, you can’t take anything for granted.”
Brewers starter Seth McClung (2-2) worked out of trouble in the first four innings, allowing only an RBI single to Teixeira in the third after he was run over at the bag by Teixeira following a bad throw. The play could’ve been the third out of the inning, but instead snapped Atlanta’s 0-for-9 streak in the series with runners in scoring position.
“I’m just glad no one got hurt there,” Teixeira said. “Me and Seth are two big boys colliding, but it kind of got us rolling, I guess.”
Following a shaky fourth inning, McClung, another reliever thrust into a starting role, faltered in the fifth.
After getting the first out, Kelly Johnson singled, then stole second, and Jones was intentionally walked.
“You’re not going to let him beat you in that situation,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
Instead, Teixeira did it, turning on a belt-high fastball for a three-run homer to make it 4-0.
“I left a pitch in to Teixeira that he could hit,” McClung said. “It’s my fault.”
After another out, McClung, who gave up eight hits and walked six, allowed a double to Jeff Francoeur and then walked the bases loaded, one of 11 issued by Brewers pitchers, to end his outing in favor of reliever Tim Dillard.
Campillo then hit a flare just out of the reach of a diving Corey Hart in right field to give the Braves a 6-0 lead and Atlanta tacked on two more off Johnson’s two-out hit in the ninth.
Campillo, who threw 73 pitches, allowed four hits and the homer to Branyan caused his ERA to rise to 0.99 in 36 1-3 innings this season over 16 appearances. He hasn’t allowed a walk since May 8.
Notes:Jones joked afterward that one of his favorite bats “died a hero” after he shattered it on a single in the first to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. “That’s why I wouldn’t let go of it, I carried it all the way down to first,” he said. ...Braves reliever Manny Acosta struck out all four batters he faced. ... Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth after being activated from the disabled list on Wednesday night. Soriano had missed 45 games with right elbow tendinitis, and said he felt good after the outing. ... Hart was called for catcher’s interference in the fourth and got hung up on the basepaths after a double in the sixth that eventually caused Fielder to be tagged out.