Braves 4, Dodgers 3
LOS ANGELES (AP)
Troy Glaus is picking up right where he left off in May, when he earned NL player of the month honors.
Glaus homered for the fourth time in five games and drove in Atlanta's first two runs in a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night, helping the Braves record their ninth straight victory.
Martin Prado opened the game with a double and scored on a two-out single by Glaus, ending a string of 31 consecutive scoreless innings by Dodgers pitchers - the team's longest since a 37-inning streak in July 1991. The 2002 World Series MVP made it 2-0 in the fourth with a towering drive into the lower seats in the left field corner for his 10th home run.
``He's definitely been the MVP of this club so far,'' teammate Chipper Jones said. ``He's confident. I mean, he's walking up there thinking he can do damage against anybody right now. It doesn't matter what your name is or what you throw up there. He's just locked in. And when he gets a mistake, he's not missing it. He's hitting it for a double or a home run. He's coming through in all the big spots where we need a big two-out base hit to score a run.''
The Braves' streak is their best since a 15-game stretch during the 2000 season - which was the longest by an NL team since the 1951 New York Giants (16 straight) and the longest by the Braves' franchise since it moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966. The Dodgers ended it in the finale of a three-game series at Los Angeles.
The Braves were last in the NL East and 6 1/2 games back May 18, but now lead the division by three games over the two-time NL champion Philadelphia Phillies - whom they swept just before coming out West.
``There hasn't been a difference, as far as how we come to the field every day,'' rookie right fielder Jason Heyward said. ``We look to go out every day and treat it as a new day, then go out and have fun. That's been the mindset, because we all understand as a team that there's going to be ups and downs in a season.''
Kris Medlen (3-1) took a three-hit shutout into the eighth and doubled home a run. He was charged with three runs - two earned - and six hits in a career-high 7 1-3 innings, striking out three and walking none in his ninth big league start.
``I was very impressed with the number of strikes he threw,'' Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. ``He located very well, and that fastball-changeup combination gets it off the fat of the bat. But we're not having the quality at-bats we were having a week or so ago. The opposing pitchers' pitch counts have been very low.''
Medlen departed with a 4-0 lead and the bases loaded before pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard greeted Peter Moylan with an RBI single. Blake DeWitt followed James Loney to the plate after a wild throw by Heyward.
Former Dodger Takashi Saito, who had to close for Billy Wagner after four appearances in four days by the All-Star lefty, retired the first two batters in the ninth before injuring his left hamstring throwing an 0-1 strike to Russell Martin.
Jonny Venters came on and struck out Martin with his only pitch for his first major league save. After the game, manager Bobby Cox nicknamed him ``The vulture.''
``I had just gotten up to throw my first warmup pitch and they told me to go out, so the adrenaline kind of took over from there,'' Venters said. ``Bobby told me to throw a slider in the dirt. I did, and fortunately he swung. I just hope Saito's all right.''
Hiroki Kuroda (5-4) gave up four runs - three earned - and seven hits in six innings before he was removed for a pinch-hitter. Jeff Weaver was brought in to replace him in the sixth, but worked up a blister while making his warmup tosses and was taken out after a visit by trainer Stan Conte and Torre.
Both teams played without their regular third baseman. Casey Blake was scratched from Torre's original lineup because of back spasms. Jones was sidelined because of inflammation in the ring finger on his right hand, which has bothered him since last weekend's series against Pittsburgh and forced him to leave Wednesday's game.
``The doc said he wanted me to let it sit for a couple of days and see if the pain subsided, and if it didn't, then think about a shot - which would probably cost me another couple of days,'' Jones said. ``It's tough hitting right-handed and it's still going to be painful, so I'll probably have to hit left-handed at some point.''
NOTES: Saito had a career-high 39 saves for Los Angeles in 2007. ... Medlen made four relief appearances against the Dodgers as a rookie last year and got a victory in one of them with two hitless innings, striking out Ethier, Ramirez and Kemp in succession.