Phillies fall to Braves 3-1
Kris Medlen has more proof he's returning to his 2012 form, and the evidence — a win over the Phillies — is especially encouraging.
The right-hander continued his late-season surge by winning his fourth straight start, Chris Johnson hit a two-run home run and the Atlanta Braves beat Philadelphia 3-1 Tuesday night.
Entering the game, Medlen had a 5.85 ERA in his career against the Phillies.
"To hold them to one run to me is an accomplishment because throughout my career I've had trouble against them," Medlen said. "Whoever has been in a Phillies uniform, I've had trouble with them."
Medlen, who was 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 2012, including a 9-0 mark as a starter, lost five of his first six decisions this year. Medlen (10-10), who appeared to be in danger of being sent to the bullpen one month ago, evened his record for the first time since he was 1-1.
The right-hander's recovery has come at the perfect time for the Braves. In late July, Tim Hudson was lost for the season with a broken right ankle and Paul Maholm went on the 15-day DL with a bruised left wrist.
"He's been awesome," Johnson said. "Every one of these guys, ever since Huddy went down, it seems like every time they go out there it's like they're trying to prove something. They're doing an amazing job and we're winning because of them."
Though Maholm may be only one minor league rehab start away from coming off the disabled list, Medlen's spot in the rotation appears more secure. He left after walking Erik Kratz to open the eighth, getting a standing ovation after allowing one run on five hits in seven innings.
After David Carpenter pitched a perfect eighth and Craig Kimbrel earned his 37th save by recording the final three outs.
Chase Utley had three hits for Philadelphia, including a one-out single off Kimbrel in the ninth. Kimbrel struck out Domonic Brown and ended the game on Darin Ruf's popup to first baseman Freddie Freeman.
Johnson gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead in the third inning with his homer off rookie Ethan Martin (1-2). Johnson leads the National League with his .337 batting average.
Martin, a right-hander who lives in Toccoa, Ga., northeast of Atlanta, grew up cheering for the Braves. He needed Monday's opening game of the series to adjust to the idea of being a visiting player at Turner Field.
"Yesterday, it was actually kind of weird being on the field and not in the stands after all the years I've been to the games," Martin said. "It was kind of fun yesterday, sitting in the dugout and doing different things. Today was pretty fun, also."
Martin lost to Medlen and the Braves for the second time in only three major league starts. Martin took a 6-4 loss to the Braves in his debut on Aug. 2 and allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in five innings Tuesday night. He had six strikeouts.
"I thought I was going to be a lot more amped up, have butterflies," Martin said. "It wasn't that bad, actually. I was kind of surprised."
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he liked the way Martin competed.
"Martin battled them," Manuel said. "He stayed in there with them. He was aggressive, he went right at 'em, stuff like that.
"He threw a lot of fastballs and Johnson finally timed one of them and that really hurt him."
The Braves took the lead in the second. Tyler Pastornicky, recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett earlier in the day when Dan Uggla was placed on the 15-day disabled list, led off with a single and scored on Medlen's two-out double over Ruf in right field.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Pastornicky will start at second base while Uggla misses at least two weeks to have Lasik eye surgery.
Johnson's homer in the third drove in Justin Upton, who doubled.
Ruf, sprinting toward the infield, made a diving catch of Medlen's shallow pop fly in the seventh.
Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer ran in to make a tumbling catch of pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen's sinking liner in the eighth.
There was a moment of silence before the game in honor of Braves fan Ronald Lee Homer Jr. of Conyers, Ga., who died after falling 85 feet from the stadium to a parking lot during Monday night's game. Players from both teams bowed their heads as Homer's picture was shown on the video board.
Atlanta police are investigating Homer's death.
NOTES: Maholm will make a minor league rehab start with Class A Rome on Saturday. He has been out since July 21 with a bruised left wrist. ... Phillies RHP Roy Halladay (right shoulder inflammation) will pitch in a minor league rehab game on Thursday in Clearwater, Fla., for the Gulf Coast Phillies. ... Braves RHP Brandon Beachy will make his fourth start in his return from Tommy John surgery when he faces Phillies LHP John Lannan on Wednesday night.
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