A meat thermometer indicated that the Veterans Stadium turf was well done at a sizzling 160 degrees before the game.
Not long ago, many thought Jim Abbott was finished, too.
Milwaukee's courageous left-hander turned in his best start of the season Monday night, allowing three hits in six innings as the Brewers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 for their fifth straight victory.
"I know my record's not great this year, but I've enjoyed it," said Abbott (2-7), who beat the sweltering heat with guile and stamina for his first victory since May 30. "I'm seeing new cities, new teams and new ballplayers."
"As Curt Schilling said, sometimes it's not how you pitch, it's when you pitch," said Phillies starter Chad Ogea (4-8), who allowed his NL-leading 23rd and 24th homers.
On a day when Philadelphia tied an 80-year-old record with a high temperature of 100 degrees, the Brewers stayed hot with homers from Jeff Cirillo, Dave Nilsson and Jeromy Burnitz. Nilsson's two-run shot in the fourth was his 19th, and Burnitz hit his 24th off Steve Schrenk in the eighth.
"That was some kind of hot out there," Burnitz said. "It's a good thing it wasn't a day game, I'll tell you that."
The game-time temperature was 96 degrees, and the artificial turf registered 160 degrees for the second straight day.
"After about the sixth inning, you could see guys were sapped," said Brewers manager Phil Garner, whose team improved to 29-18 on the road and has won 12 of 15.
"Getting to .500 has to!ba our first goal," Garner said. "Nobody's going to win their division or get in the playoffs until they get to .500."
Abbott walked three, struck out three and sent Garner back to the cool dugout when he considered a pitching change in the sixth. He dropped down almos sidearm against left-handed hitters Bobby Abreu and Rico Brogna, a new technique he's trying to improve his success against lefties.
"I was probably more unfamiliar with this team than with any other opponent," said Abbott, who spent his first nine seasons in the American League.
Abbott, who has two hits this season despite being born with one hand, bunted into a double-play on a sacrifice attempt in the third and grounded out in the fifth.
"I know their guy has a high ERA, but he didn't pitch like a guy with a high ERA," said Phillies manager Terry Francona, referring to Abbott's 6.57 mark.
"He had better stuff than I thought he would have," said Ron Gant, 0-for-2 with a walk against Abbott.
The Brewers got a solo homer from Cirillo in the first and a two-run shot from Nilsson in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead against Ogea. Burnitz ended an 0-for-12 slide with a solo homer in the eighth.
Abbott walked two straight batters with two outs in the first, but got Brogna to ground out. After he dropped down to strike out Abreu to start the sixth, Garner walked to the mound to check on the left-hander. Abbott, drenched with sweat, twice told Garner, "I'm OK," before retiring Scott Rolen and Brogna to end the inning.
Rafael Roque allowed three hits and struck out four in three innings for his first major league save.
Phillies reliever Joe Grahe walked pinch-hitter Rich Becker with the bases loaded in the seventh, making it 4-0.
Ogea allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, walking one and striking out two.
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