Fielder powers Brewers past Braves 3-0
Fielder's third two-homer game of the season gave the Milwaukee Brewers all the offense they needed and he threw a runner out at the plate in a 3-0 win over the punchless Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
Jeff Suppan (4-4) gave up six hits in 5 1-3 innings as the Brewers took their second straight shutout win over Atlanta and extended the Braves' streak of scoreless innings to 22.
Milwaukee manager Ken Macha called the back-to-back shutouts "very welcome."
"The pitching coach is making the manager look good," Macha said of Bill Castro.
The first-place Brewers moved two games ahead of St. Louis in the NL Central.
Fielder has 15 career two-homer games, but never has hit more than two in a game. He led off the ninth with a walk from Rafael Soriano.
"I wasn't thinking three home runs," said Fielder of his last at-bat.
Fielder gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead with his homer off Javier Vazquez (4-5) in the fifth, hitting a hanging changeup.
"A mistake pitch," Vazquez said. "He's locked in right now."
Milwaukee added a run in the sixth when Jason Kendall singled to right and scored on Craig Counsell's double.
Fielder hit Eric O'Flaherty's first pitch in the seventh over the wall in right-center for his 15th.
The Braves were held to a season-low two hits in Friday night's 4-0 loss to Milwaukee. Atlanta's scoring woes continued even after Brian McCann led off the sixth with his second career triple. Ryan Braun lost McCann's flyball in the lights in left field. With Braun holding his hands out, the ball landed behind him, a few feet in front of the warning track. McCann was safe at third with a head-first slide.
McCann took off for the plate on Garret Anderson's grounder to first, but was thrown out by Fielder's throw to catcher Jason Kendall.
"It means a lot to me to be able to help my team both ways," Fielder said of his contributions on offense and in the field.
The Braves loaded the bases after Fielder's play.
Suppan left the game after walking Jeff Francoeur. Todd Coffey struck out Martin Prado but walked pinch-hitter Greg Norton to load the bases. Left-hander Mitch Stetter struck out Kelly Johnson on three pitches to end the inning.
"I was looking for something over the plate," Johnson said. "The pitches were there, but (Stetter) is a funky guy. I've seen him maybe once before. I'm just looking for him to make a mistake that I'm looking for. For whatever reason, the pitches I got, I didn't pull the trigger."
The Braves have lost three straight, and Chipper Jones left in the fifth with dizziness but left word he expects to be able to play Sunday.
Milwaukee's Mike Cameron was ejected by plate umpire Marvin Hudson for arguing a called third strike in the ninth. Hudson's cap was pushed back as the two argued face to face.
"He said I bumped him," Cameron said. "I didn't move. I just said it wasn't a strike. It wasn't a ... strike."
Added Macha: "I didn't see what happened. It may have been hat-to-hat contact."
Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee's fourth reliever, pitched the ninth for his 15th straight save.
Vazquez gave up four hits and two runs in six innings and has a losing record despite his 3.54 ERA.
"You would think that you'd scratch some runs together and give some support to Javier," Johnson said. "He pitched really well. Three runs, we should at least be in the mix there."
The Braves, who had their NL-leading seventh shutout loss, also were shut out in back-to-back games by Pittsburgh on April 17-18.
"Hopefully we can pull out of this funk," Vazquez said. "I've always said if your offense is good or not, you have to go out there and throw your game."