WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Ben Sheets #30 of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Two starts, 12 innings pitched, seven hits, no runs, four walks, 11 strikeouts. That is what Ben Sheets has done so far as an Atlanta Brave. That will do just fine.
Sheets was good again on Saturday, shutting out the Nationals for six innings while striking out six and working around three walks and five hits. His outing and solid work from Kris Medlen and Chad Durbin in relief led the Braves to a 4-0 victory over Washington in game one of Saturday's doubleheader.
Sheets got key double play balls in the third and fourth innings when he really needed them.
This is turning into a great story, and as evidenced today by a 90-93 mile per hour fastball and that curveball, Sheets still has really good stuff. He recorded six swing and misses, four of which came via his curveball.
McCann turned on the second pitch he saw from Jackson, and put it into the first row of stands in right to make it a 1-0 game.
Things stayed at 1-0 until the eighth, when the Braves got aggressive on the base paths and manufactured an insurance run. Michael Bourn singled off of Henry Rodriguez to start the frame, and then stole second. Martin Prado followed with a walk, putting runners on first and second.
An aggressive double steal call worked perfectly, and moved the runners up to second and third. Rodriguez then threw a 58-foot fastball that bounced away from Jesus Flores, allowing Bourn to score from third and make it a 2-0 game.
Atlanta received some extra insurance in the ninth thanks to pinch-hitter Chipper Jones. Chipper launched the first pitch he saw from Ryan Mattheus over the right field fence for a two-run home run to make it a 4-0 game.
Durbin pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the game.
This marks the second time all season that the Nationals have been shut out. First pitch for game two is set for 7:05 PM ET.