SAN DIEGO (AP) — Kris Medlen has more than proved he belongs in the Atlanta Braves’ rotation.
Medlen extended his scoreless streak to 28 1-3 innings by holding San Diego to five singles over eight innings and leading the Atlanta Braves to a 2-0 victory Tuesday night.
Medlen, who moved into the rotation on July 31, allowed only five baserunners and erased two of them on pickoffs at first base. He struck out nine to tie his career high and walked none.
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“He’s terrific,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He does everything you want a starting pitcher to do and hopefully there’s young players out there watching what he does. He gets the ball back and fires it. He throws strikes. He holds runners, he fields his position. He does a lot of stuff. He pitches like he’s in the backyard. He’s having fun and he goes after hitters and nothing fazes him. We’re glad we have him in the rotation.”
Atlanta, the NL wild-card leader, ended the Padres’ season-high eight-game winning streak.
Medlen (6-1) has not allowed a run since the second inning of a 9-3 victory against the New York Mets on Aug. 11. Five days after that, he threw his first complete game and shutout in a 6-0 victory against San Diego at Atlanta, allowing only five hits.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” said Medlen, who’s from a Los Angeles suburb and pitched in front of about 25 friends and family members. “We’re winning games and that’s all that really matters. When you start worrying about stuff like that, that’s when you start getting off your plan and off focus. I just want to stay focused and take it a start at a time, and whatever else cliche I can say.”
Atlanta has won Medlen’s last 17 starts dating to May 2010 and is 20-4 in his 24 career starts.
Medlen picked off Everth Cabrera in the second inning and Alexi Amarista in the sixth. Gonzalez said it had been a while since he’d seen a right-hander pick off two runners. Medlen said he made the adjustment after giving up some stolen bases in his last start after not even looking at runners.
“He works down in the zone, big time,” San Diego’s Yonder Alonso said. “He may have left up two or three pitches. Bottom line, we didn’t get the big hits. He made it tough for us. It was very, very difficult.”
Medlen “got us over there and he repeated it over here,” Padres manager Bud Black said, referring to the victories against the Padres in both Atlanta and San Diego.
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 32nd save in 34 chances.
Dan Uggla homered leading off the fifth, his 1,000th career hit, and Chipper Jones hit an RBI double in the first, both off Andrew Werner, who was making his second big league start.
Werner (1-1) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked none.
“The first inning I was up a bit,” Werner said. “But then I settled down. The rest of the game went pretty smoothly except for that one pitch I left out there” on Uggla’s homer.
NOTES: A group that includes the sons and nephews of former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley has closed its $800 million deal to buy the San Diego Padres. The team scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning to introduce the new owners. The sale was approved by major league owners on Aug. 16. The new ownership group includes O’Malley’s sons, Kevin and Brian O’Malley, and nephews Peter and Tom Seidler. Golfer Phil Mickelson, a San Diegan, also is involved with the group. He won’t be at the news conference, though, as he’s en route to the Deutsche Bank Championship outside of Boston. … The series concludes Wednesday afternoon when RHP Tommy Hanson (12-6, 4.40) is scheduled to start for Atlanta against LHP Eric Stults (4-2, 2.68)