Braves set record, win 23rd straight Medlen start

Braves set record, win 23rd straight Medlen start

Braves set record, win 23rd straight Medlen start
ATLANTA -- The Braves have gone more than two years without losing a game started by Kris Medlen. If they can still say the same a month from now, Chipper Jones' final season might indeed have a magical conclusion.

Medlen extended a record-setting run of perfection and helped the Braves celebrate Jones' final regular-season home game with a 6-2 win over the Mets in front of 50,635 emotionally charged fans at Turner Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Braves have now won each of the past 23 games started by Medlen dating back to May 29, 2010. This breaks the Major League record previously shared by the Yankees with Whitey Ford (1950-53) and the Giants with Carl Hubbell (1936-37).

"I think the best part about it is that my name is in the history books, but it is a team thing," Medlen said. "They're team wins. Guys go out and battle for me because they know I'm going to throw strikes. So I'm going to just try to continue executing my pitches. It's been a fun ride."

Medlen admits that he had never heard of Hubbell before his name was first mentioned to him some time last week. But that seems fitting given that the casual baseball fan likely knew little about Medlen before he transformed from reliever to starter in late July and soon after became Atlanta's ace.

Medlen limited the Mets to an unearned run and three hits while completing just six innings in his final regular-season performance. He went 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in the 12 starts that he made after being moved to the starting rotation.

During this record-setting streak, the high-energy, fearless pitcher has gone 14-0 with a 2.38 ERA.

"He's developed himself into the ace of our staff," Jones said. "We know that if we go out there and give him three or four runs, the game is basically over. We all knew he was capable of that. He just needed to get healthy and be given the opportunity. He was very valuable to our ballclub out there in the 'pen, but I think you see he's a little more valuable to us in the starting rotation."

With their 12th win in their past 15 games, the Braves kept their hopes of winning the National League East alive for at least one more day. They are three games behind the first-place Nationals with three games left to play. If they do not realize the miraculous finish that would be necessary to erase this deficit, they will send Medlen to the mound to start the one-game playoff to determine which of the NL's two Wild Card entrants advances to the Division Series.

The Braves are comforted to know Medlen would be taking the mound in this must-win game with the experience of pitching in front of Sunday's raucous crowd. The last loss they incurred in a game that he started was an extra-innings setback against the Pirates on May 22, 2010.

"To be recognized for anything, it's awesome and it's really cool," Medlen said. "It's been the coolest experience of my life."

While Medlen enjoyed this record-setting achievement, Jones spent the weekend enjoying the overwhelming sense of appreciation shown by the three sellout crowds that watched this series. He received a standing ovation before each plate appearance and took time to address the crowd after Sunday's victory. "We can play with anybody, believe me," Jones told the 30,000-plus fans who remained after the last out to hear his television interview piped through the stadium's PA system.

Admittedly overwhelmed with emotions, Jones went hitless during the first two games of the series. But he drew two walks and recorded a third-inning single that stirred those fans who came to see him play one last regular-season game in Atlanta.

Jones opened the bottom of the second inning with a walk and advanced to third base on Freddie Freeman's double. Two batters later, David Ross gave Medlen all of the support he needed courtesy of a three-run homer off Jenrry Mejia.

"I was trying to get the ball in the air, and I did and it went out," Ross said. "I was running around the bases and the crowd was going crazy.  I rounded third and saw Chipper smiling big. It was a lot of fun. I had a lot of energy coming into that dugout."

Making his first appearance since jamming his left thumb on Sept. 22, Michael Bourn opened the bottom of the fifth inning with a double and scored when Jason Heyward collected a double of his own off Mejia. Andrelton Simmons' RBI triple keyed a two-run sixth that gave the Braves a comfortable 6-1 lead.

The offensive support was more than enough for Medlen, who entered the game knowing he would not throw more than six innings. He stranded two in the first inning and would not have allowed the unearned run if he had been able to catch Freeman's feed to first base on Justin Turner's two-out grounder in the third inning.

Now that Medlen has been linked to Ford, he would like to spend the next couple of weeks enjoying the same kind of playoff success the former pitcher did during his glory days with the Yankees.

"Any time you can be anywhere near anybody or anything like that, it's awesome," Medlen said. "It's something I've strived for my entire life and my entire career. Hopefully, it just keeps on going."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.