Ben Sheets won for the first time since Opening Day and the 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."They're still a good ballclub no matter what people say," insisted Bill Hall, whose two-run homer proved to be the difference. "They might be struggling in the win-loss column, but I'm sure any GM would take that lineup any day of the week."On paper, it looks like they're going to beat us three games in a row, 20-0. But let's play it on the field, and I'll match our heart with any team's," he added.For the second straight night, Jeter represented the go-ahead run but made the last out."You never want to put yourself in that situation," said closer Derrick Turnbow, who jammed Jeter for a comebacker to the mound one night after watching him line an outside fastball to the opposite field. "Sooner or later your luck will run out."Jeter, who stranded the potential tying run at third, said the pitch looked exactly the same as it did the night before."It started in the same spot but ran into me. I wish I could flip-flop the days and maybe get different results," he said.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 Turnbow got his 10th save in 12 chances but not until he escaped a jam, 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."I was trying to get something in," Turnbow said. "He went away with it last night."Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said his team is pushing its luck by allowing Jeter to come up in the ninth, "but you just feel good about Turnbow out there."Yankees right-hander Carl Pavano (4-5) allowed just five hits in six solid innings, but one was a two-run homer to Hall.With pressure continuing to mount from impatient owner George Steinbrenner, the $200 million Yankees fell to 1-7 on their 12-game road trip, lost their fourth straight series and dipped two games below .500 at 28-30. They also fell to 0-22 when scoring three runs or fewer.This is the latest the Yankees have been below .500 since Sept. 5, 1995, when they were 60-61."I don't like it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "The food doesn't taste as good. Of course, I've never been a good sleeper, but waking up in the morning isn't a lot of fun."New York has managed just seven singles and a double in the series so far, and Torre canceled batting practice for the finale Wednesday night."I'm not sure if that's the answer, but maybe we'll save it for the game," Torre said.Sheets ended his five-game losing streak by winning for just the fifth time in 19 decisions since the All-Star break last year. Yost said he finally looked like the pitcher who dominated all last summer."He's not the type of guy you want to see when you're struggling offensively," Jeter said after the Yankees' first look at Sheets. "We've heard a lot about him. He's as good as everyone says."Sheets got very little run support again -- Jenkins, Carlos Lee
and Lyle Overbay, the 3-4-5 hitters, failed to get a ball out of the infield -- but with the Yankees struggling to score runs, Hall's shot was enough.After Sheets struck out the side in the first, Hall put the Brewers ahead 2-0 following a walk to Overbay. It was Hall's sixth homer and the 14th allowed this season by Pavano, who gave up 16 all of last season with Florida.The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs in the third when Jeter and Tony Womack singled for the only hits off Sheets and Gary Sheffield drew a four-pitch walk. Hideki Matsui, however, grounded out to second."I tried to give us the best chance to win, but teams aren't going to keep this lineup down for long," Pavano said. "Teams go through spells like this, pitching staffs go through spells like this. But the guys that are toughest rise to the top and this is far from over."
Pavano threw just 75 pitches, his lowest total since April 10, when he lasted only two innings in a loss to Baltimore. ... The Brewers' No. 1 draft pick Tuesday, Miami infielder Ryan Braun, credits Alex Rodriguez with helping him move from shortstop to third base this season. A-Rod lives and trains in Miami in the offseason and tutored Braun. "He's been able to give me some helpful hints," said Braun, the fifth overall pick. "Obviously, it was a difficult
transition for him, as well, and he's been able to help me."