Jones ends Jurrjens’ no-hit bid in 7th
Jair Jurrjens’ first career shutout served as a well-timed advertisement for his candidacy to be the NL All-Star starting pitcher.
Jurrjens threw a one-hitter in his strongest start of a breakout season, Jason Heyward ended a long home-run drought and the streaking Atlanta Braves beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 on Friday night.
Jurrjens (11-3) became the first NL pitcher with 11 wins and lowered the NL’s best ERA to 1.89 in a performance that will almost certainly get the attention of San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy as he decides on an All-Star starter.
”That was a pretty good performance that maybe will get some people’s attention,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, adding Jurrjens deserves to ”at least be on the team.”
Adam Jones ended Jurrjens’ no-hit bid with his single up the middle with one out in the seventh. Jones stole second but was stranded there as Jurrjens struck out Matt Wieters and Derrek Lee.
”A bouncer,” Jurrjens said of Jones’ hit, shaking his head. ”I would prefer to give up a line drive off the wall.”
Jurrjens recorded 15 straight outs before Mark Reynolds walked to lead off the sixth.
Jeremy Guthrie (3-10) threw five scoreless innings, allowing only a walk and a hit, before giving up Heyward’s first homer since April 29, a two-run shot in the sixth.
Jurrjens threw 101 pitches through eight innings but was allowed to pitch the ninth with closer Craig Kimbrel standing on the bullpen mound. Jurrjens pitched a perfect ninth for his second complete game of the season.
”When you have a chance to go out and finish your own game, it’s a good feeling,” Jurrjens said.
Jurrjens struck out eight and walked one batter. He earned his 11th win in his 15th start. The last Atlanta pitcher to reach 11 wins in 15 starts was Tom Glavine in 2002.
”Outstanding,” Gonzalez said. ”It was one of his best performances of the season so far. He’s been the most consistent pitcher we’ve had, and today was no different.”
The Braves (48-35) have won four straight and nine of 11 to move a season-best 13 games over .500. The Orioles (35-44) have lost four straight to fall a season-worst nine games below .500.
Heyward missed 18 games with a right shoulder injury before coming off the disabled list on June 15, but his two hits lifted his batting average to only .234.
”I know I can’t get it all back in one game or one series,” Heyward said. ”I’ve been swinging the bat pretty well and feeling pretty comfortable.”
Heyward hit 18 homers and drove in 72 runs as a rookie last season and had seven homers at the end of April this year.
Guthrie was pulled after giving up singles to Jordan Schafer and Heyward to open the eighth. Left-hander Pedro Viola, recalled from Double-A Bowie before the game, recorded one out before giving up Chipper Jones’ run-scoring single to left.
Freddie Freeman followed with a grounder which first baseman Lee fielded before throwing wildly to second base for an error, allowing Heyward to score for a 4-0 lead.
Guthrie gave up six hits and four runs, three earned, in seven-plus innings. He remained in the game after he was hit on his right leg by a line drive hit by Alex Gonzalez in the fifth.
”They leave a little bit of a mark, but that’s what you get when you hang a slider,” Guthrie said.
Each starting pitcher had the support of strong defensive plays in the outfield.
Nate McLouth, running toward the wall in left field, caught a drive hit by Jones with two outs in the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, Jones made a running catch in front of the wall in center of a drive hit by Freeman.
The Braves haven’t had a no-hitter since Kent Mercker held the Dodgers without a hit on April 8, 1994. Mercker also was part of a combined no-hitter with Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena against San Diego on Sept. 11, 1991.
NOTES: Braves OF Martin Prado took batting practice outdoors on Friday for the first time since surgery for a staph infection in his right leg. He has been out since June 8 and could make a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week. … Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said Viola gave the bullpen another LHP against a Braves lineup stacked with left-handed hitters. … Braves 2B Dan Uggla was 0 for 4 with four strikeouts and is hitting .176.