On the heels of throwing three consecutive shutouts and with the masterful Kris Medlen on the mound, the Atlanta Braves can establish a team record today when they resume a three-game series with the New York Mets.
Atlanta has never thrown four straight shutouts. The Braves, who continue to be one of the top teams in the wild card standings, have a 28-inning shutout streak intact, which is eight innings shy of the team record. That was set April 26 - May 1, 1992 when the Braves had Tom Glavine and John Smoltz spearheading a club that made it to the World Series for a second straight year.
Medlen, who was voted the NL Pitcher of the Month for August, is riding an incredible 12-0 mark over his last 23 starts, dating back to May 31, 2009. Last month, the right-hander posted a 4-0 record and a major league-best 0.50 ERA, by allowing two earned runs in 35 2/3 innings. He struck out 35 batters and walked only four.
The Braves have won Medlen's last 18 games started, going back to 2010, which is a team record. It's the longest such streak in the majors since the New York Yankees won 20 straight games started by Roger Clemens in 2001.
Medlen hasn't given up an earned run over his last four starts. He's won five straight starts and is coming off a complete game against Colorado on Monday, when he gave up an unearned run and fanned a career-high 12 batters in a 6-1 final.
Over his career, Medlen has faced the Mets 13 times (3 starts) and is 1-0 with a 1.60 ERA.
The Mets turn to rookie right-hander Jeremy Hefner, who hasn't won since Aug. 4 at San Diego. Hefner pitched in relief of Johan Santana when the Mets lost, 9-3, to Medlen and the Braves on Aug. 11 at Citi Field.
Last night, Paul Maholm tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings, while Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla each crushed solo home runs in a 3-0 final. Maholm (12-9) scattered five hits and walked three while striking out six to snap a three- start winless skid. Craig Kimbrel worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth to nail down his 35th save of the season.
"It's really been amazing to watch," Uggla said of the pitching. "You don't see too many ballgames won on unearned runs, 1-0 game. It's been fun to watch them."
Heyward homered in the fourth and Uggla added his 18th of the season in the ninth, as the Braves won their third straight game and fifth in their last six tries.
Jonathon Niese (10-9) gave up one run on five hits and one walk over six frames to take his third consecutive loss.
"We're not getting many hits at all, especially none with two outs," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Atlanta has won eight of the last nine meetings.