The Atlanta Braves appear to be playing with all the confidence
in the world. That’s really bad news for the sputtering Baltimore
Orioles, whose own assurance continues to be shaken.
Atlanta looks for its ninth straight interleague win Saturday
night against the Orioles, who may have hit rock bottom after the
Jair Jurrjens held Baltimore to one hit – a one-out single in
the seventh inning by Adam Jones – en route to his first career
shutout, 4-0 on Friday.
“A bouncer,” Jurrjens said of Jones’ hit, shaking his head. “I
would prefer to give up a line drive off the wall.”
Regardless, Jurrjens became the NL’s first 11-game winner,
lowered his ERA to a league-best 1.89 and will merit strong
consideration to start the All-Star game later this month in
“Outstanding,” Braves manager Fredi 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 (Friday) was no different.”
Jason Heyward hit his first homer since April 29 for the Braves,
who have outscored the opposition 33-12 during their eight-game run
against AL foes.
Atlanta moved a season-best 13 games over .500, but remained
four games behind NL East-leading Philadelphia after the Phillies
beat Toronto earlier Friday.
Though it’s been more than five years since he last faced
Baltimore, the Braves’ Tim Hudson (6-6, 3.51 ERA) surely won’t want
to be reminded of that outing.
The right-hander was lit up for six runs and 11 hits in 2 2-3
innings of Atlanta’s 7-4 loss at Turner Field on July 1, 2006.
Hudson had been 9-1 with a 2.00 lifetime ERA versus the Orioles
prior to that start.
However, he enters this contest having not allowed a run in his
last two starts. After surrendering two hits over eight innings and
hitting a two-run homer to help beat the Blue Jays on June 20,
Hudson scattered six hits in six innings Sunday, but didn’t get a
decision as the Braves fell 4-1 to San Diego.
Baltimore (35-44) has lost four in a row overall to fall a
season-worst nine games under .500. The Orioles’ 13 road wins are
second-fewest in the AL behind Kansas City’s 10.
“It’s frustrating,” Jones said. “We all feel good. We all go up
there with a good plan. It’s just, the execution is not coming
through right now.”
After having his start pushed back from Wednesday, Jake Arrieta
(9-4, 4.50) will face Atlanta for the first time while seeking his
fourth win in five starts.
The right-hander went at least six innings in his three previous
starts before facing Pittsburgh on June 20. Backed by a five-run
first, Arrieta gave up three runs and three hits through five as
the Orioles posted an 8-3 win.
He has been given at least five runs of support in nine of 16
starts this year.
“I really don’t know what it is, the team, they find a way to
put runs on the board when I’m on the mound,” Arrieta said. “It’s
a good feeling for me. I’m not going to argue with it.”
Braves second baseman Dan Uggla struck out four times Friday,
and is 1 for 8 with six strikeouts in his last two home games. A
.287 hitter with Florida last year, Uggla is batting .176 in