ATLANTA (AP) — Kris Medlen continued his late-season surge by winning his fourth straight start, Chris Johnson hit a two-run home run and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-1 Tuesday night.
Medlen (10-10) appeared to be in danger of being sent to the bullpen one month ago. 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.
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, 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, 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.
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 Darin Ruf in right field.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Pastornicky will start at second base as Uggla will miss 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.
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