MILWAUKEE – Ben Sheets won for the first time since opening day and the Milwaukee Brewers again held off Derek Jeter and the punchless Yankees, sending New York to its ninth loss in 10 games with a 2-1 win Tuesday night.

Sheets (2-5) allowed just two singles in seven strong innings, his third start since coming off the disabled list. He walked five and struck out five before turning things over to his stellar bullpen.

Ricky Bottalico pitched a hitless eighth and Derrick Turnbow got his 10th save in 12 chances.

Turnbow escaped a jam in the ninth, just as he did the night before – when Geoff Jenkins ran down Jeter’s drive in the right-field corner to preserve a 4-3 victory.

This time, Jenkins nearly made a diving grab of Robinson Cano’s liner to right-center, but the ball squirted free for a double that left runners at second and third with one out.

Bernie Williams’ RBI groundout gave the Yankees a run, but Jeter bounced back to the mound on the first pitch to end it.

Braves 3, Angels 2

ATLANTA – Horacio Ramirez sent a message right away, then pitched eight strong innings to lead the struggling Atlanta Braves past the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Tuesday night.

Ramirez also had two of Atlanta’s nine hits, equaling a career high, and Rafael Furcal’s seventh-inning homer proved to be crucial for the Braves.

The opening game of the series included a violent home-plate collision that left Braves catcher Johnny Estrada with a mild concussion. He was kept in the hospital overnight and didn’t even come to the ballpark Tuesday.

While there was debate over whether Darin Erstad should have delivered a shoulder-first blow to Estrada’s mask, it was clear where the Braves stood.

Mets 3, Astros 1

NEW YORK – Pedro Martinez flirted with the first no-hitter in New York Mets history, taking his bid into the seventh inning and striking out 12 Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

Martinez dominated one of the worst-hitting teams in the major leagues, throwing a two-hitter with only one walk for his 44th career complete game and second this season. New York moved four games over .500 for the first time this season.

Just when the Shea Stadium crowd of 39,953 was beginning to buzz with excitement, Chris Burke drove a 1-1 pitch into the left-field bullpen for his first major league home run. It came on Martinez’s 69th pitch, with one out in the seventh.

But the right-hander recovered and allowed only Lance Berkman’s single the rest of the way. He capped his stellar performance in style, fanning his final four batters and saluting the crowd with arms raised high as he walked off the mound.

Nationals 2, Athletics 1

WASHINGTON – Nick Johnson kept up his torrid homestand with a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night, leading the Washington Nationals to a 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Johnson went 2-for-3 with a walk, raising his average on the eight-game homestand to .560 (14-for-25), and the first baseman’s nifty scoop of a one-hop throw completed a double play to end a threat in the eighth. The reigning NL co-player of the week is a top reason why the Nationals have won eight of nine to climb to the top of the NL East.

Tony Armas (2-3) pitched six innings of four-hit ball on a sultry night at RFK Stadium, allowing a first-inning run and working through long counts of endless foul balls on a night when the announced temperature at game time was 91 degrees.

Reds 9, Devil Rays 7

CINCINNATI – Relief pitcher Randy Keisler homered and doubled Tuesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds’ comeback from a five-run deficit to a 9-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Keisler (2-0) took over in the second inning for Ramon Ortiz, who got only five outs while falling behind 6-1. The left-hander struck out a career-high eight in 6 1-3 innings – the longest outing by a Reds reliever in 15 years – and got Cincinnati’s biggest hits as well. Keisler had his first major league homer and a double in his first two at-bats, jump-starting the offense with his impressive left-handed swing.

Mariners 4, Marlins 3

MIAMI – A throwing error by Florida reliever Jim Mecir fueled Seattle’s two-run eighth inning and enabled the Mariners to beat the Marlins 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa (1-1) got just two outs but earned the victory for the Mariners, who have won seven of nine.

Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 18 opportunities.

The Marlins, who began a homestand following a 1-6 road trip, have lost 11 of 13.

Pirates 6, Orioles 5

PITTSBURGH – Jack Wilson’s go-ahead solo homer followed Daryle Ward’s tying three-run shot in the eighth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 Tuesday night.

The Orioles were cruising with a 5-0 lead behind rookie Hayden Penn after getting four solo homers in five innings off Dave Williams. Pittsburgh scored twice in the sixth on reliever John Parrish’s run-scoring wild pitch and Ward’s RBI double. Ward drove in four runs.

Jorge Julio (2-2), the Orioles’ fourth reliever, came in to protect a 5-2 lead in the eighth but Rob Mackowiak singled and Jason Bay walked, and Ward tied it with his 11th homer.

Phillies 8, Rangers 5

PHILADELPHIA – Placido Polanco drove in three runs, Bobby Abreu homered and Jon Lieber pitched effectively into the seventh inning to win his third straight start in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

The Phillies bounced back from Monday’s loss to win for the seventh time in the first eight games of their 13-game homestand. They continued a recent trend of solid starting pitching, some clutch outs from the bullpen and a couple of fortuitous breaks at the plate.

Not even interleague play made a difference for the Phillies, who faced Texas for the first time.

Blue Jays 6, Cubs 4

CHICAGO – Aaron Hill drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the eighth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Chicago Cubs 6-4 Tuesday night.

Greg Zaun added an RBI single for the Blue Jays, who won for the second consecutive night in their first visit to Wrigley Field.

White Sox 2, Rockies 1

DENVER – Jose Contreras pitched six solid innings, and Jermaine Dye and A.J. Pierzynski each had an RBI single to lead the Chicago White Sox past the Colorado Rockies 2-1 Tuesday night.

Contreras allowed five hits and earned his third win in 12 starts, helping Chicago improve its major league-leading record to 39-19. The White Sox have won five of six and are 20 games over .500 for the first time since they ended the 2000 season 95-67, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.


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