Braves win 7th straight behind Medlen

ATLANTA (AP) — Kris Medlen felt relaxed before

making his first start in nearly two years.

For a guy

who’s started just 19 of 109 career appearances, he didn’t feel any

jitters.

“I was much more calm,” he said. “If you’d

asked me that in the first start I had, it would’ve been completely

different. But I just felt like I was in

control.”

Medlen had a successful return to the

rotation, Brian McCann homered and the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami

Marlins 7-1 on Tuesday night for their seventh straight

win.

Atlanta has won 10 of 13 to close within 2 games

of first-place Washington in the NL East following the Nationals’ 8-0

loss to Philadelphia.

Rain delayed the game 1 hour,

53 minutes before the start of the sixth

inning.

Medlen (2-1) allowed four hits, one run and

one walk with three strikeouts in five innings. He made his first start

since receiving no-decision in an 8-3 win over the New York Mets on Aug.

4, 2010.

“He gave us everything we wanted him to,”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He was trying to talk us into going

one more inning, but no chance. He goes back (to start) on Sunday, and

we’ll add another 20-25 pitches to his outing and hopefully get us

deeper in the ballgame.”

McCann’s 18th homer, a solo

shot, gave the Braves a 4-1 lead in the third. In his last 19 games,

McCann has nine homers and 20 RBIs.

“I’ve been

feeling good for a while,” McCann said. “The first half (of the season)

was — I’ve got a lot of making up to do. Hopefully this next month I’ll

just keep going. I’ve got two more months to finish strong and keep

going.”

Ricky Nolasco (8-10) gave up seven hits, four

runs and four walks and struck out six in five innings. He has lost

four straight starts and has a 7.48 ERA over that

span.

Donnie Murphy’s third homer made it 1-0 in the

first, but the Braves took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half of the

inning.

After Martin Prado and Jason Heyward singled

and advanced on Nolasco’s balk, McCann’s RBI groundout made it

1-1.

Dan Uggla walked to load the bases before Juan

Francisco’s liner scored Heyward from third and Uggla from second to put

the Braves up 3-1.

Nolasco, who made 18 of his 34

pitches for balls and had a mound visit from pitching coach Randy St.

Claire in the first, dropped to 0-3 with an 8.79 ERA in three starts

against Atlanta this season.

After McCann’s homer,

Nolasco escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third by striking out

Medlen.

“Your team gives you a 1-0 lead and to come

in and give up three, it sucks all the energy out of the team right off

the bat,” Nolasco said. “It’s not what you’re looking to do as a

starting pitcher.”

Rookie Tyler Pastornicky hit his

first career pinch-hit homer and his second this year off Dan Jennings

to make it 5-1 in the sixth. After second baseman Emilio Bonifacio’s

fielding error, Heyward followed with an RBI single for a 6-1

lead.

Atlanta added a run in the eighth. McCann

scored from second when Freddie Freeman singled off Ryan Webb and left

fielder Greg Dobbs made a fielding error.

Miami has

lost two straight and 10 of 13.

Cory Gearrin, Chad

Durbin, Eric O’Flaherty and Jair Jurrjens combined to allow the Marlins

three hits and no walks with two strikeouts in the last four innings.

Since July 3, Atlanta’s bullpen has a 1.92 ERA over a 24-game

span.

Medlen, who made his 19th career start, was 1-1

with a 2.48 ERA in 38 relief appearances this season. He won as a

starter for the first time since July 7, 2010, at

Philadelphia.

“I love the mound presence,” Gonzalez

said. “I love seeing him getting the ball back on the rubber, and he

says, `Here it is. Hit it.’ Murphy hits a homer on the (fifth) pitch of

the game and it doesn’t even bother him.”

The Braves

have won 10 of 12 at Turner

Field.

NOTES: Francisco went

3-for-3 with an intentional walk. … In the third, Freeman singled and

stole his first base since July 30, 2011, also against the Marlins. …

Atlanta RHP Tommy Hanson was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained

lower back. Gearrin was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to take his

place on the roster. … Miami traded RHP Edward Mujica to St. Louis for

minor league 3B Zack Cox and dealt 1B Gaby Sanchez and a minor league

pitcher to Pittsburgh for OF Gorkys Hernandez and a draft pick. …

Atlanta LHP Paul Maholm will join his new team Wednesday and will likely

start Saturday against Houston. … OF Reed Johnson was in uniform one

night after getting traded with Maholm from the Cubs. To make room

Johnson, the Braves optioned OF Jose Constanza to Gwinnett.