Braves win 21st straight started by mighty Medlen

Braves win 21st straight started by mighty Medlen

Braves win 21st straight started by mighty Medlen
MIAMI -- Every fifth day has been like Groundhog Day for Kris Medlen.

The righty's magical run as a starter continued Wednesday at Marlins Park as he pitched eight shutout innings and struck out six in the Braves' 3-0 win against the Marlins. The win helped Medlen improve to 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA in 10 starts this season, and it moved Atlanta to within five games of Washington in the National League East. Atlanta's magic number for clinching a playoff spot is now five.

"I just go out there and try to win every time; that's the goal," Medlen said. "It's all Groundhog Day. It's the same thing every day, just a different lineup. You attack guys and see what happens."

The victory marked the club-record 21st straight start by Medlen that the Braves have won, dating back to 2010. It's the first time a team has won 21 consecutive starts by a pitcher in nearly 60 years, when the Yankees won 22 straight starts by Whitey Ford from 1950-53 -- a feat Medlen is well aware of, even if he doesn't think he belongs in the same breath as Ford.

"I think it's just kind of happened that way where they go to battle for me and I go to battle for them, and it's just kind of worked out," Medlen said.

Medlen, who has been dominant since joining the rotation at the end of July, left no doubt the Braves would get the win Wednesday and bounce back from Tuesday's extra-inning loss. The 26-year-old righty got into a few tough spots early, but managed to work out of the jam each time.

"Medlen continues to just plug along," third baseman Chipper Jones said. "I don't think he was as sharp as we've seen him in his most recent starts, but still good enough to go out and shut out a Major League ballclub for eight innings."

The Marlins had a runner on third with one out in the first after Gorkys Hernandez singled and stole a pair of bases. Medlen battled back and stranded runners on the corners. In the second, he gave up a one-out double to Rob Brantly, but sat down the next two hitters to end the threat.

It appeared Medlen was going to give up a run in the fifth after Donovan Solano singled and advanced to third on a one-out, two-base error by the pitcher on a pickoff attempt, but once again the righty worked out of the jam.

"Wow, he put on a show out there, to be honest," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Everything was working for him."

While Medlen was masterful, the Braves backed him with early support. They forced Marlins righty Josh Johnson to toss 45 pitches through two frames.

"Good job by the offense kind of getting some runs off Josh early, running his pitch count up," said Jones, who was honored before his final game in Miami. "You had a feeling that runs would be at a premium."

Atlanta manufactured a run in each of the first three innings against Johnson, who entered the day with a 2.17 career ERA against the Braves, but gave up three runs in six innings.

"This is the time of the season we need to be doing that," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Every run from here on in and the postseason is going to be hard. You're going to be scrapping for them, and when you get those opportunities, you got to take advantage of them."

Michael Bourn led off the game with his 24th double of the season, and he came around to score after a pair of sacrifices from Martin Prado and Jason Heyward. In the second, Dan Uggla drew his National League-leading 89th walk, stole second and then scored on Jose Constanza's single up the middle.

Prado worked a leadoff walk in the third and advanced to third on a Jones single -- his 2,721st career hit, which tied Lou Gehrig for 58th on the all-time list. Prado scored on a Freddie Freeman sacrifice fly.

"Lou's a big one," Jones said. "That's the Iron Horse, man. [I'm] just really honored to have as many hits in my career as one of the greatest in the game. Now we got to work on passing him."

The three runs were plenty for Medlen, who retired the final 12 batters he faced, paving the way for Craig Kimbrel to come in and record his 38th save of the season and secure Medlen's 13th win during the 21-start streak.

"He pitches like he's in the backyard," Gonzalez said of Medlen. "He pitches like he's in high school. He has fun, he's always smiling. There's intensity there, there's focus in there, but he doesn't get spooked or doesn't get caught in the moment.

"He knows what he wants to do and he goes out and does it. It's fun and refreshing to see a young pitcher do that."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.