It was a good night for the Braves. Yes, the team’s offense continued its recent futility; Atlanta has .295 wOBA over the past month, which is awful and near the bottom of both leagues. But behind an excellent Kris Medlen, the Braves won a close, low scoring game. The magic number for the division is now down to 4.
Medlen has been on fire recently, and last night was no exception. Over 7.1 innings Kris scattered 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. He allowed no runs. San Diego’s only run came on a 9th-inning Chase Headley solo shot off Craig Kimbrel, whose scoreless streak, though not saves streak, came to an end. That Medlen allowed no runs in a game against the Padres is actually more impressive than it seems: San Diego has killed Atlanta this season. Last night was the first time the Braves have beaten the Padres in 2013. Medlen is now 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA over his past four starts.
The Braves should have given him more support, frankly. Atlanta batters compiled 9 hits and 6 walks but only 2 runs: the latter came on a 4th-inning Chris Johnson single and a 6th-inning Freddie Freeman home run. Otherwise, Atlanta was up to its old tricks, getting guys on but not in. You can’t even blame strikeouts, either. Padres pitchers only struck out 5 Braves. Braves hitters just hit the ball into outs with guys on base. It happens, but it also happens more often when the hits in question are singles. Only Freeman’s home run and an 8th-inning Andrelton Simmons double went for extra bases.
With the Nationals, Dodgers, and Cardinals all losing, the Braves had a rather productive Saturday night, all told. They’ll go for the series win this afternoon and look to trim their magic numbers further. Regardless of what happens today, though, Atlanta has a shot to wrap up the division this week against Washington. That would be pretty cool.