Kapler Has Provided Spark

Gabe Kapler has filled in well defensively and at the plate in Milwaukee's outfield rotation this season.

Inside Pitch

Reserve outfielder Gabe Kapler has made his presence known this season, batting .311 with five home runs and 22 RBIs.

Beyond filling in whenever needed in the outfield, Kapler has been an offensive force off the bench, going 7-for-19 (.368) with two home runs and four runs batted in as a pinch hitter.

"He has done a nice job," manager Ned Yost said. "If any outfielder goes down, we feel we're really covered. He fits in with our guys here."

After retiring for a year and managing in Boston's farm system, Kapler didn't know what to expect in terms of playing time with the Brewers. But with Gabe Gross traded to Tampa Bay earlier in the season and Tony Gwynn Jr. back down with Class AAA Nashville, Kapler remains the top option at every outfield spot if a backup is needed.

Kapler said he has leaned on his experience to be ready for whatever duty might arise on a given day.

"I have done both, being a full-time bench player, being a full-time starting player, and now also kind of being a mix of the two," he said. "If I prepare, therefore I am prepared. That's my mantra."

Brewers 4, Braves 1

Right-hander Ben Sheets got an early lead and never gave the Braves a chance to catch their breath, putting down the final 16 hitters in order to complete a four-hitter. Sheets is 9-1, 6-0 on the road and 9-2 all-time against the Braves. And he leads the NL with three complete games.

It was a dominating performance in which Sheets didn't walk a hitter and threw 73 of 106 pitches for strikes. The Brewers never even got a pitcher loose in the bullpen. They did all of their scoring early, with center fielder Mike Cameron socking a two-run homer in the second inning and second baseman Rickie Weeks, shortstop J.J. Hardy and left fielder Ryan Braun pounding consecutive doubles in the third. The Brewers are 22-10 since May 20, the best record in the majors.

Notes and quotes

--Cameron was back in the starting lineup after missing four games with a hyperextended right big toe. In his first at-bat, Cameron smacked his homer off Atlanta lefty starter Jo-Jo Reyes.

--Reliever Eric Gagne begins a minor league rehabilitation assignment tonight with Nashville. Gagne has been on the disabled list since May 21 with rotator cuff tendonitis.

--The Brewers are the only team in the major leagues to have six players with at least 10 home runs.

Sheets has been strong on the road and at home. In five starts at Miller Park, he is 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA. In 10 starts on the road, he is 6-0 with a 2.41 ERA.

--Weeks, who returned Sunday from a stint on the 15-day DL with a sprained knee, put together his first three-hit game of the season Monday in Atlanta. Weeks reached base four times, with two singles, a double and walk.


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