'Pen the common theme in Braves' first 2 wins

'Pen the common theme in Braves' first 2 wins

MIAMI -- The Braves have now won back-to-back games after an 0-9 start to the season, and while there have been some key contributions on offense, it's the bullpen that has been particularly outstanding.

Atlanta's bullpen has shut out the Marlins for 8 1/3 innings over the past two nights, helping the Braves erase that zero from the win column and start a winning streak with a chance to leave Marlins Park with a sweep.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was hoping not to have to call on his bullpen much Saturday night after relievers threw 4 2/3 innings in Friday night's win at Marlins Park. But Saturday's starter, Bud Norris, exited after 98 pitches in 5 1/3 innings and clinging to a 6-4 lead -- which held up as the final score.

Hunter Cervenka, Chris Withrow, Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli came on to shut down the Marlins for the remaining 3 2/3 innings, with Grilli registering his first save by striking out the side, including Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, in the bottom of the ninth.

"We've got a good group of guys down there and we're battling through it together," Grilli said.

"The big key, I think, is Cervenka," Gonzalez said. "That second left-hander has been able to kind of settle that bullpen a little bit. He's done a great job. You wish your starters go a little deeper so you don't have to use four guys every night, but our starters have given us a chance the last couple of days, and our bullpen has been terrific, lights-out."

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Norris also had nothing but compliments for the bullpen, especially for helping him pick up his first win Saturday night.

"Hunter came in and picked me up big time, and so did Withrow," Norris said. "It's another big win for us. We want to keep this thing moving, so we've got another chance tomorrow and hopefully get a sweep."

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.