MIAMI — Kris Medlen pitched eight innings of four-hit ball and the Atlanta Braves won his start for the 21st straight time, beating the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Medlen (9-1) lost the first two starts of his career in 2009. He hasn’t taken a loss in any of his 26 starts since, with the Braves prevailing in the last 21 of those — making them the first team since the New York Yankees to have such a streak, according to STATS LLC.
The Yankees won 22 straight times when Whitey Ford started games from 1950 through 1953, a span interrupted by Ford serving in the Korean War.
Medlen struck out six, walked one and lowered his ERA from 1.62 to 1.51. Chipper Jones, playing his last game against Miami, went 1 for 4.
Rob Brantly doubled for Miami, which was shut out for the 16th time this season.
Craig Kimbrel picked up his 38th save in 41 chances for Atlanta, despite allowing a single to Jose Reyes to open the ninth and hitting Greg Dobbs with a pitch two batters later.
The Marlins honored Jones in a pregame ceremony, giving him a fly-fishing rod, reel and plenty of accessories. Jones has played more games (244) and collected more home runs (40), RBIs (165), hits (258), doubles (47) and walks (140) than any other opponent has against the Marlins.
So they won’t have Jones to worry about anymore.
But Medlen, he might be a problem for years to come.
The first of Medlen’s 10 starts so far this season was against Miami on July 31, when he allowed one run over five innings and the Braves picked up a 7-1 victory. Little did anyone know then how the next few weeks would go — he’s now 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA as a starter, as opposed to his 2.48 ERA in 54 1-3 innings in 38 relief appearances to start the season.
Atlanta also made sure he had the lead before even taking the mound. Michael Bourn led off the game with a double and scored two batters later on Jason Heyward’s sacrifice fly to center off Josh Johnson, whose woes continued.
Johnson (8-13) gave up five hits, three walks and three runs in six innings, striking out five. The Marlins have now lost seven of his last eight starts.
Dan Uggla scored in the second after drawing his NL-leading 89th walk, stealing second and coming around on Jose Constanza’s single to center. The lead went to 3-0 in the third when Atlanta made Johnson pay for another walk — a leadoff pass to Martin Prado turned into a run on Freddie Freeman’s sacrifice fly.
Medlen worked his way out of a little trouble in the fifth. Donovan Solano singled and went to third when Medlen’s one-out pickoff throw sailed past first base. But Medlen got Bryan Petersen to pop up into short center field — Uggla, the second baseman, had his throw home go up the third-base line, but Solano was held anyway — and then Gorkys Hernandez grounded to shortstop to end the inning.
NOTES: Jones tied Lou Gehrig for 58th on baseball’s all-time hit list with a third-inning single, the 2,721st hit of his career. “Every time he gets a base hit, he passes a different guy on the list. You sit back and go, ‘Wow,”’ Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ... The Marlins and Braves both have Thursday off. Miami plans to pitch RHP Jacob Turner in New York on Friday against LHP Jonathon Niese, while Atlanta is expected to start RHP Tommy Hanson in Philadelphia on Friday against RHP Kyle Kendrick. ... Braves SS Paul Janish, who dislocated his left shoulder on Tuesday night, returned to Atlanta for evaluation. It’s unknown if he could be back before the end of the regular season.