Sheets experienced a frustratingly unique six-inning effort filled with a long stretch of perfection and blemished by the career-high four home runs that he surrendered as the Braves took a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers in the Civil Rights Game on Saturday night.
Hanley Ramirez supplied most of the damage with a two-homer performance that began when he hit the first of the back-to-back-to-back home runs that Sheets surrendered with one out in the second inning. The Dodgers shortstop capped his productive evening with a three-run home run with two outs in the sixth inning.
Sheets retired the first four batters he faced before allowing Ramirez, James Loney and Luis Cruz to hit three consecutive home runs within a span of four pitches in the second inning. He then retired 13 straight batters before issuing consecutive two-out walks ahead of Ramirez’s three-run home run in the sixth inning.
The four home runs surrendered by Sheets served as the only hits he allowed while being charged with a season-high six runs in six innings.
The 34-year-old right-hander had allowed just two home runs in his six starts (38 innings) since ending his two-year retirement after the All-Star break.
Each of the nine hits the two teams combined for during this game were extra-base hits. The Dodgers profited from their four home runs and the Braves scored just once before Martin Prado hit his seventh homer in the ninth inning.
Sheets had surrendered three home runs in a game six previous times during his career. The Dodgers have now accounted for four of the seven occasions in which he has allowed at least three home runs in a game.
Since winning each of his first three starts and allowing just one run in the process, Sheets has lost three of his first four starts of this month and allowed at least five runs in each of his past two outings.
Dodgers starter Aaron Harang also experienced a rather odd outing as he frustrated the Braves with a wildly effective effort.
Harang allowed just one run despite issuing five walks and finding the strike zone with barely half of his pitches (58 of 115) in 6½ innings.
Michael Bourn drew a walk to begin the bottom of the first inning and scored when Prado followed with a double to the left-center-field gap. Harang issued two more walks in the first inning and then escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam with a strikeout of his nemesis, David Ross.
Ross entered this game with four hits, including three home runs, in nine at-bats against Harang.
While Harang was consistently behind in the count, he issued just two more walks after the first inning. After issuing a two-out walk to Jason Heyward in the fifth inning, he got Chipper Jones to fly out to left field. The sixth-inning walk issued to Dan Uggla was followed by consecutive strikeouts of Ross and Paul Janish.