While he made a successful return to Atlanta's rotation on Tuesday, it's unknown if Kris Medlen will remain there beyond the middle of this month.
For now, the right-hander is embracing his new role and will try to help the Braves in the NL East race with another strong outing Sunday against the MLB-worst Houston Astros , who are coming off a rare victory.
Following Tommy John surgery in 2011, Medlen was expected to play a significant role in Atlanta's bullpen but injuries necessitated his move to the rotation. He made his first start since Aug. 4, 2010, on Tuesday against Miami but had that outing cut short by rain.
Medlen (2-1, 2.43 ERA) still came away with a win in a 7-1 victory after allowing a solo homer, three singles and one walk over five innings.
"He's here to help this team win," catcher Brian McCann told the team's official website. "That performance right there, he started right where he left off in 2010. He was one of our best starters in 2010 before he got hurt. He picked up tonight and was right there again."
Medlen, though, might only get two more starts with Tommy Hanson eligible to come off the disabled list Aug. 15.
"My career, I've taken it a day at a time and every day it has been different," Medlen told the team's website. "The fact that I get another start is good for me and I'm happy about it."
The right-hander will try to help his team bounce back from Saturday's 3-2 defeat to the Astros (36-72). Justin Maxwell had a career-high four hits, including a pair of home runs, during his team's fourth victory in 33 games.
The win was also Houston's second in 25 road games and snapped a six-game skid at Turner Field.
"Any win is a lift," Maxwell said. "We've been struggling all year, but we haven't given up at all. We know we're not in a good situation right now, but if we keep playing hard, it's going to get better for us in the future."
Bud Norris (5-8, 5.02) will try to keep Atlanta (61-46) from cutting into its three-game NL East deficit while leading his team to back-to-back victories for the first time since June 26-27. The right-hander is also seeking his first win since May 21.
Norris is 0-7 with a 7.10 ERA in his 10 starts since that victory over the Chicago Cubs but has allowed a combined four runs over his last two outings. He gave up three over six-plus innings Monday in Milwaukee, but the Astros' bullpen faltered in an 8-7 defeat.
"Bud did a good job," manager Brad Mills said. "He pitched really well. He threw the ball really well."
Norris is 0-1 with an 8.74 ERA in two career starts against Atlanta with the most recent coming Aug. 9, 2010.
Medlen is making his first start versus Houston.
|August 03, 2012||Francisco Cordero||15-Day DL||Inflamed right big toe|
|July 31, 2012||Wilton Lopez||Day-to-Day||Right elbow tightness|
|July 15, 2012||Jed Lowrie||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|July 14, 2012||Jed Lowrie||Day-to-Day||Right ankle|
|July 08, 2012||Jason Castro||15-Day DL||Fluid in right knee|
|June 26, 2012||Justin Maxwell||15-Day DL||Loose bodies in left ankle|
|August 01, 2012||Jair Jurrjens||15-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|July 31, 2012||Tommy Hanson||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|July 20, 2012||Matt Diaz||15-Day DL||Right thumb contusion|
|July 14, 2012||Jack Wilson||15-Day DL||Dislocated right pinkie finger|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||15-Day DL||Broken right pinkie finger|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Chipper Jones added another highlight on his impressive farewell tour as made the most of his final swings against the Houston Astros .
Jones had two hits in his last two at-bats and scored the go-ahead run on a sixth-inning wild pitch, helping the Atlanta Braves beat the Astros 6-1 Sunday to finish an 8-2 homestand.
The 40-year-old Jones had a run-scoring double in the seventh and is hitting .320 in his final season.
"Chipper is a Hall of Famer," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He may be the best player I've ever seen play the game."
With the score 1-1 in the sixth, Jones singled and took third on singles by Freddie Freeman and Davis Ross. Jones scored on a pitch from Bud Norris (5-9) that sailed over catcher Carlos Corporan 's glove. Paul Janish then singled in two runs for a 4-1 lead.
Jones finished .322 with 20 homers in his career against the Astros, who dropped to a major league-worst 36-73.
"It's a little sad to know I won't play the Astros anymore," Jones said. "It's hard because the Astros were a rival of ours for so long."
Jones said the Astros manager Brad Mills "whistled at me and said something from the dugout" and third base coach Dave Clark "came over and said something to me" about his last game against Houston.
Jones has hits in 29 of his last 33 games. He's hitting well above his career .305 mark, prompting some to wonder whether he will reconsider his retirement plans.
"Maybe," Gonzalez said with a smile.
"No, no," Jones said firmly.
Jones is committed to retiring and has been honored in some cities, including Houston, where he was presented a cowboy hat in April by former Astros star Craig Biggio .
Jonny Venters (4-3) pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth to win in relief of Kris Medlen , who allowed one run and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Atlanta remained three games behind first-place Washington in the NL East.
"They're a good ballclub," Jones said of the Nationals. "We're going to have to go get them. They're not going to come back to the pack. All you can do is try to hold serve at home. An 8-2 homestand, we'll take that any day of the week."
Medlen, who allowed only three hits in his first five innings, left after back-to-back singles to Marwin Gonzalez and Brett Wallace with one out in the sixth. Cory Gearrin gave up a tying double to Justin Maxwell .
Venters, who had been rested due to a sore left elbow, entered in his first appearance since July 29 and struck out pinch-hitter Matt Downs . After an intentional walk to Steve Pearce that loaded the bases, pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez grounded out.
David Ross homered in the second. Michael Bourn singled in a run in the eighth after Rhiner Cruz walked a pair of batters.
Norris gave up only one run and three hits through five innings before Atlanta's three-run sixth.
"I felt good," Norris said. "All the ground balls got through. There's nothing I can do there. I'm making the pitches and unfortunately things didn't go my way."
Mills said Norris "threw the ball well up until the sixth inning.
"He got the leadoff guy out and then a couple singles got it started and he wasn't able to stop it," Mills said.
NOTES: Atlanta's Dan Uggla was 0 for (backslash)4 and his hitting .209. ... Cristhian Martinez had two strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning for Atlanta. ... Astros C Jason Castro , on the 15-day disabled list with swelling in his right knee, is scheduled to report to Triple-A Salt Lake City on Monday. He was scheduled to catch five innings with Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday. ... RHP Jair Jurrjens , on the DL with a right groin strain, will report to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday to begin a rehab assignment. Jurrjens had been removed from Atlanta's rotation but will start at Gwinnett. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel will pitch as the Astros open a four-game series at Washington on Monday night. ... RHP Ben Sheets will start when the Braves open a three-game series at the Phillies on Monday night.