LOS ANGELES — Kris Medlen pitched 6 2-3 scoreless innings and hit his first major league home run, Dan Uggla also went deep, and the Atlanta Braves continued their recent stretch of dominant starting pitching in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night.
Medlen (3-6) scattered five hits, struck out six and allowed only one baserunner as far as third. That was in the sixth inning, when the right-hander retired Andre Ethier on a flyball to shallow center field and fanned Scott Van Slyke after Nick Punto led off with a double and advanced on a groundout by Adrian Gonzalez.
Medlen has won back-to-back starts for the first time this season, and has a 2.87 ERA over his first 13 starts. Last year he was 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 regular-season starts after being inserted into the rotation on July 31.
Atlanta’s rotation has yielded just three runs in 31 1-3 innings spanning the team’s last five games. This stretch included eight innings of one-hit ball by rookie Julio Teheran, who came within four outs of a no-hitter on Wednesday against Pittsburgh, and back-to-back starts by Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm in which they each allowed one run in games the Braves lost.
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, hobbled by a troublesome left hamstring, pinch hit for the third straight night and greeted Jordan Walden with an RBI single in the eighth. The unearned run was charged to Luis Avilan, after a throwing error by shortstop Andrelton Simmons on an attempted double-play relay to first base.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth for his 18th save in 21 attempts.
Stephen Fife (1-1) allowed two runs and nine hits with seven strikeouts in his third start of the season and second since getting recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to replace the injured Chris Capuano in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Uggla led off the fifth with his 11th homer on an 0-2 pitch, and Medlen hit a 1-0 delivery just over the right field fence two batters later.
Yasiel Puig continued to shine for the Dodgers in his first week in the major leagues. He got two more hits along with his second outfield assist, charging Jason Heyward’s single to right field in the fifth and firing a seed to third baseman Luis Cruz on the fly to nab Andrelton Simmons as he tried to advance two bases.
In six games so far, the Cuban-born phenom is 10 for 23 in the leadoff spot with 10 RBIs and four home runs — including an opposite-field grand slam.
Simmons drove Fife’s second pitch of the game to left-center for a double, Heyward walked and Justin Upton advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt — only the third of his seven-year career and first in 1,559 plate appearances since his previous one on Sept. 14, 2010. But Fife escaped the jam, throwing called third strikes past Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann.
NOTES: Upton has gone 49 official at-bats without an RBI since his run-scoring double against Dillon Gee on May 25 at New York. He has only one in 72 at-bats since his five-RBI game against the Dodgers on May 17 in Atlanta. ... The Dodgers have had 10 rookies of the year who were position players, and none of them came close to the start that Puig has gotten off to with the four homers coming in his first 19 at bats. Mike Piazza needed 96 at-bats to get his second home run, Raul Mondesi 65, Frank Howard 49 and Jackie Robinson 120. ... The Dodgers are expected to place LHP Ted Lilly on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday because of neck soreness. RHP Matt Magill will be recalled from Triple-A to start the series finale instead against LHP Mike Minor. ... Heyward’s brother Jacob, an outfielder with Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga., was drafted by the Braves on Saturday in the 38th round (1,153rd overall). Jason was the 14th overall pick in 2007. ... Dodgers 2B Skip Schumaker had three singles, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. ... The Dodgers brought Old-Timers’ Day back to Chavez Ravine for the first time since 1995, marking 50 years since the Dodgers’ four-game World Series sweep of the Yankees. A “Who’s Who” of Dodgers and Yankees from World Series past were on hand — including Sandy Koufax, Goose Gossage, Dwight Gooden and Chris Chambliss.