Sabathia goes distance to blank Nats

Sabathia goes distance to blank Nats

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' offense stayed hot through Thursday's off-day and the trip home from Cincinnati, scoring four early runs in support of another brilliant performance by CC Sabathia on Friday night.

The Nationals couldn't get anything to work at Miller Park, as the Brewers rolled to a 5-0 victory in front of a sellout crowd.

Sabathia (6-0 in seven starts since arriving in Milwaukee) tossed his fourth complete game -- and second shutout -- with the Brewers, allowing just five hits, while striking out nine and walking just one. The big lefty was economical, needing only 103 pitches, and even added to the offensive output with a single of his own in the second inning.

"I was just trying to pound the zone," Sabathia said. "That's usually what I try to do, is just go out and throw strikes. They were swinging well early, and it's always good to know that you've got a good-hitting team behind you.

"If you keep them in the game, they're probably going to score some runs and we are going to win the game."

Still unbeaten in his seven starts with the Brewers, Sabathia has posted a 1.58 ERA since his move to the National League. His four complete games top the NL, and the southpaw is currently in the midst of a career-best nine-game winning streak, dating back to June 10.

"[Losing] is part of the game, and it's going to happen eventually," Sabathia said. "I just look forward to my next start. I don't look back. I've had some stretches where I've felt pretty good like this in my career, but I wouldn't even know [where this rates], to be honest with you."

After putting up a combined 14 runs over the past two games against the Reds, the Brewers hit the ground running as they scored in each of the first three innings and staked Sabathia to a big lead.

"We got him some runs early," manager Ned Yost said. "That always helps anybody, no matter how good they're going. We scored four in the first three innings and allowed him to take it from there."

Working with a big cushion for much of the game, Sabathia filled up the strike zone and had everything working. He was able to change speeds effectively, control both sides of the plate, keep the ball down and work quickly to limit what the Nationals could do at the plate.

"I was throwing everything pretty good today," Sabathia said. "[Catcher Jason Kendall] called a great game and I just followed him."

"He was dominating tonight," Kendall said. "He's working both sides of the plate, keeping the ball down and using all his pitches. Any pitcher can have success if he does -- it's as simple as that. You have to try to simplify the game as much as possible."

Sabathia's numbers since his trade from the Indians are phenomenal, and it seems as if a shutout is just business as usual for the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner. Yost knows that he can't expect the same every time out, but that even when Sabathia doesn't have his best stuff, the lefty knows how to limit the damage.

"Nobody's perfect and everybody has their days," Yost said. "But if you give CC a couple of runs, I know that I feel good. I'm still always on guard when a situation is developing, but he doesn't allow that very often.

"And when he does get into a tough situation, it's always a one- or two-run deal. It's never a four- or five-run deal."

The offense, which had been struggling to score at home in recent weeks, came alive early, causing Yost to joke that some of his players might not have known where they were.

"I guess some people forgot that we came home," Yost said with a smile as he walked into his postgame press conference.

The bats didn't waste any time as Prince Fielder extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single in the first inning, Mike Cameron hit a solo homer in the second and the Brewers manufactured two more runs in the third. J.J. Hardy hit a solo shot in the seventh inning to tack on an insurance run.

"We've been taking advantage of situations, getting runs here and there," Yost said. "We had two runs on home runs, and the two-out single by Prince in the first inning to get us on the board was huge.

"Especially with CC or Benny [Sheets] pitching. To go into that second inning with a lead is always beneficial to your team."

After the game, Fielder had a smile on his face as he talked about Sabathia's effort.

"It was really fun out there," Fielder said. "As a position player, it really makes you step your game up, because when you get a guy like that on the mound, you don't want to waste it. You want to make sure you give him everything you got, so he can get the win because he's doing his part.

"And when you score early [for Sabathia], it's a wrap."

Friday's crowd of 43,209 at Miller Park marked the 28th sellout of the season and a franchise-record 12th straight sellout, dating back to July 10. The Brewers are on pace to surpass the three million mark and set a club record in attendance this season.

"It's definitely nice to have our fans here being loud," Sabathia said. "They've been loud ever since I've been here, and it has been a lot of fun."

Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.