Jenkins displays maturity in 2nd start for Braves

Jenkins displays maturity in 2nd start for Braves

CINCINNATI -- With one swing of the bat, it looked like Braves second baseman Gordon Beckham had propelled rookie Tyrell Jenkins into his first career win just one day before his birthday.

Beckham's two-run homer in the seventh gave the Braves a two-run lead shortly after Jenkins exited, and he would have been the pitcher of record. Unfortunately for Jenkins, Jim Johnson couldn't hold down the save and, although the Braves ended up with the 5-4 win in 11 innings, Jenkins missed out on that first victory.

Although Jenkins didn't get the win, he impressed in his second start, pitching six innings and allowing two runs on four hits on a career-high 107 pitches.

"I was really comfortable," Jenkins said. "Earlier before the game, me and [catcher Anthony] Recker got a gameplan together, and I kind of gave him my personal gameplan, because I've been studying the hitters and kind of watching film. So I was really comfortable knowing who was aggressive and what they were swinging at, what they were looking for."

Jenkins' only big mistake came in the first inning. After walking Joey Votto, he got behind Jay Bruce and then served up a 3-1 pitch for a two-run homer, the only two runs he gave up.

"I thought it was a good pitch," Jenkins said. "I asked Recker, and he said he thought it was down. We kind of pounded him away three or four times in a row and we didn't get him in, so he was kind of sitting on that outside pitch and hitters like that, you can't just sit on one side of the plate because they'll make you pay for it."

Jenkins got better as the night wore on. In the first two innings, he got behind several batters -- including taking five of the first 10 batters into three-ball counts, as many as he had the rest of the game.

"The first couple innings, I kind of worked too hard to get through them, got behind in the count a lot," Jenkins said. "If I got my pitch count down, I probably could've [gone] a little bit longer and helped the team and helped the bullpen by staying out there a little bit longer to compete."

Jenkins' final five innings didn't come easy. He allowed at least one baserunner in every inning and stranded a runner in scoring position three times, including a one on third in his final inning.

It's that, as much as anything, that impressed Braves manager Brian Snitker, who was Jenkins' manager at Triple-A Gwinnett earlier this season. With a game like this, the 23-year-old rookie took a step forward in his development.

"He matured a lot tonight," Snitker said. "This was a great learning game for him to experience in his Major League career. It's the first time he's been out there, game on the line, have to get out of the inning. I think it was a completely different game than the last that he started. It was a completely different set of circumstances, and this is really good for him today to go through all that."

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.