video thumbnail

COL@ATL: Medlen fans 12 in complete-game win vs. Rox

ATLANTA -- Less than 24 hours after being rejuvenated by Chipper Jones' thrilling walk-off home run, the Braves returned to Turner Field and provided some indication that they might have escaped the funk that had followed them over the previous two weeks.

Benefiting from the early advantage produced by an opportune offense at Turner Field on Monday afternoon, Kris Medlen looked quite relaxed as he notched his second complete game and helped the Braves extend their momentum with a 6-1 win over the Rockies.

"We talked about it in Spring Training and we knew once he was in the starting rotation, it would be difficult to get him out of it," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's proving us right."

The Braves scored six runs through the first two innings with the benefit of just two hits. In addition, one day after Paul Maholm completed just two innings, Medlen went the distance with a 111-pitch effort that included a season-high 12 strikeouts. The one run he allowed was unearned.

Medlen was so relaxed that at one point Braves catcher David Ross saw him dancing to the beat of a song that was playing on the stadium's sound system. But the 26-year-old pitcher stayed focused throughout this gem which concluded with consecutive strikeouts.

"He's relaxed and a fun guy, but he's focused," Ross said. "His head is not in the clouds. He likes to have fun. He doesn't take himself too seriously. He doesn't take this game too seriously. He knows himself. If he got all stressed out, he probably wouldn't be very good."

One of the few things separating this day from near perfection was the fact that the sure-handed Paul Janish committed a rare throwing error to end Medlen's scoreless streak at 34 2/3 innings. It was the longest streak by a Braves' pitcher since Greg Maddux blanked opponents over 39 1/3 consecutive innings in 2000.

Janish made a diving stop of Jordan Pacheco's sharp grounder in the seventh inning and then made an errant throw to second base while attempting to begin a double play. When the ball made its way past the tarp in right field, Carlos Gonzalez was able to easily score from first base.

"You've got a guy trying to make a play behind you," Medlen said. "I wasn't angry. He's the reason I even have that scoreless streak. He's made unbelievable plays for me the entire season. When you've got a guy busting his tail to make a play for you, how can you be mad?"

Though the scoreless streak is over, Medlen can still take pride in the fact that the Braves have won each of the past 18 games that he has started dating back to the 2010 season, when he was forced to undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. This is the longest such streak since the Yankees won 21 consecutive starts made by Roger Clemens in 2001.

"He was terrific and he's been terrific for a while," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

While many were looking forward to seeing Medlen make the transition from reliever to starting pitcher in late July, it seems safe to say that he has exceeded almost all expectations. Through seven starts, he is 6-0 with a 0.54 ERA. He has completed at least eight innings in three of his past four outings. His other complete game was recorded with a shutout against the Padres on Aug. 16.

"I know how I am as a pitcher and I know how competitive I am," Medlen said. "When I put it all together, I think I can get results I want. Did I know it would be this kind of success? Not quite. But did I think I could do it? Yes. Did I expect it? Not really."

It did not take long for the Braves to extend the energy produced on Sunday night, when Jones capped a five-run ninth inning with a three-run walk-off homer against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. The comeback provided the club a fifth win in a span of 15 games and a chance to quiet talk about them suffering a second late-season collapse.

Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood walked two of the first four batters he faced while enduring a rough first inning. Chatwood uncorked a wild pitch that led to the game's first run. Martin Prado then hit a sharp comebacker that struck the leg of the young pitcher, who then made the first of two errant throws that allowed Freddie Freeman to score from first base.

Chatwood walked three of the first four batters he faced in the third inning before Prado's sacrifice fly gave the Braves a 3-0 lead before they had recorded their first hit. Juan Francisco then delivered an opposite-field single. Then truly feeding off of Sunday night's magic, Ross followed with a two-run double that seemed like a routine fly ball to center before it made an abrupt hook to the left.

"I've hit a couple like that in BP, but never in the game," Ross said. "I thought when I hit it, I was like shoot, it's right at [Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler]. He's going to catch that one. He's a good outfielder. It just took a left turn halfway out there. He asked me if I could teach him that. I said, 'I have no idea, buddy. That's angels in the outfield.'"

MLB.com Comments