Unlike last year, Kris Medlen has encountered his fair share of ups and downs. The right-hander, though, has settled in nicely over the last five weeks.
Medlen tries to win a fourth consecutive home start Tuesday night as the Braves continue a three-game set against the New York Mets .
After going 6-10 with a 3.78 ERA in his first 20 starts, Medlen appears to have recaptured his form from 2012. He has gone 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last six starts while striking out 32 and walking five over 39 innings.
"People were expecting him to do the same thing," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Medlen's success last year, when he went 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 regular-season starts after joining the rotation in late July. "That's just a fantasy."
Medlen (11-12, 3.58 ERA) has been especially good at home, where he has posted a 1.35 ERA during a career-high three-start winning streak.
"I'm being aggressive," he said. "Hopefully, I can keep it going through September and October."
Medlen delivered one of his strongest efforts of the season Thursday, scattering six hits over seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory over Cleveland.
"His command has been good," Gonzalez told MLB's official website. "Right from the start today, all of his pitches were working. He gave us a (heck of an) outing."
Medlen had gone 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA in his first seven starts against the Mets before yielding four runs in 5 1-3 innings in a 4-1 road loss July 23.
The Braves (84-53) have won seven of eight after taking Monday's opener 13-5. Freddie Freeman went 2 for 5 with a homer and career high-tying five RBIs as Atlanta matched its highest run total of the year.
"When you go out there and face guys you haven't seen, my approach is to go up there and be aggressive," said Freeman, who is 50 for 114 (.439) with runners in scoring position. "It was kind of easier with guys on base. They have to come after you and they don't want to walk you and load up the bases."
The Braves have compiled a 27-4 home record when Freeman drives in at least one run. The slugging first baseman is batting .333 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs in his last 31 games against New York (62-74).
Jordan Schafer had four of Atlanta's 17 hits to go along with three stolen bases Monday before leaving with a strained lower back. He is considered day to day.
Losers in eight of 12, the Mets give the ball to Carlos Torres (3-2, 2.77), who continues to fill in for the injured Matt Harvey . After 13 consecutive relief appearances, the right-hander gave up four hits over 6 2-3 innings of one-run ball to beat Philadelphia 11-3 on Thursday.
"I think of it as, I'm just another pitcher. There is no replacing Harvey," he said. "It's an audition every time you go out there. I'm just trying to show them that I'm willing to do anything."
Torres has made four starts this season, allowing one run in three of those outings and eight in the other. He yielded one run in six innings opposite Medlen in July to earn the victory.
Torres is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA in six games - one start - against Atlanta. Freeman is 0 for 5 in their matchups.
|New York Mets|
|September 01, 2013||Ike Davis||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right oblique|
|August 27, 2013||Matt Harvey||15-Day DL||Torn right UCL - out for season|
|August 26, 2013||Matt Harvey||Day-to-Day||Torn right elbow ligament|
|August 18, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||15-Day DL||Right elbow discomfort|
|August 17, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||Day-to-Day||Right elbow discomfort|
|August 10, 2013||Jeremy Hefner||15-Day DL||Partially torn ligament, right elbow|
|August 29, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left hand injury|
|August 22, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Fractured right jaw|
|August 21, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 20, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Strained upper back|
|August 15, 2013||Tyler Pastornicky||15-Day DL||Torn left ACL - out for season|
|August 13, 2013||Dan Uggla||15-Day DL||Eye surgery|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Evan Gattis is starting to get his groove back for the Atlanta Braves .
After playing three games in the minor leagues to correct his swing, Gattis returned to the majors and made an immediate impact.
"I felt fixed before leaving," Gattis said. "It's good to go there and really kind of put it into action. It was good to have a good night."
Kris Medlen pitched seven strong innings while Gattis and Andrelton Simmons homered to help the Atlanta Braves win their second straight game with a 3-1 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
The Braves have won 20 of 24 at Turner Field to improve the major leagues' best home record to 51-19.
Gattis, who was recalled earlier in the day after a three-game stint at Triple-A Gwinnett, tied it at 1-all with his 16th homer in the seventh.
After Mets starter Carlos Torres (3-3) walked Dan Uggla on nine pitches, Simmons hit his 13th homer to make it 3-1.
Medlen (12-12) allowed seven hits and one run while striking out nine.
Closer Craig Kimbrel converted his 34th straight save opportunity and improved to 44 for 47 this season. He struck out Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, allowed a single to Omar Quintanilla and retired pinch-hitter Justin Turner on a groundout.
New York has dropped three straight and nine of 13.
Torres gave up seven hits, three runs and one walk. He tied career highs with six strikeouts and seven innings pitched.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the sixth on Daniel Murphy 's RBI double with one out, but Medlen limited the damage on Josh Satin 's groundout and Lucas Duda 's strikeout.
In the seventh, New York manager Terry Collins let Torres bat with runners at first and third, but the pitcher struck out.
Torres lost the lead in the bottom half of the inning, unable to finish off Gattis and Uggla when both hitters fell behind with 0-2 counts.
"Look where he was in that point in the game, and he was cruising," Collins said. "They're dangerous so you can't make any mistakes. He gave us a chance. We just couldn't put up any runs."
Medlen erased the first two runners in scoring position - Eric Young Jr. in the first and Duda in the fourth.
After Young tripled over Gattis' head in left field in the sixth and scored on Murphy's double, Medlen escaped further damage when Josh Satin grounded out and Duda took a called third strike.
"Whatever jam you get in, you always feel like you can get out of it," Medlen said. "I'm always thinking positive. Whether other people do, I don't know, but I'm always figuring out a way to get out of stuff. It's something you learn as you mature in this game. I think I've figured how to battle, how to go at guys, and today I did a decent job of that."
Duda doubled with two out in the fourth, getting stranded on d'Arnaud's strikeout, but his average dropped to .169 in 59 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Gattis, who went 3 for 3, spent the previous three days at Triple-A Gwinnett to get some at-bats. The NL's rookie of the month winner for April and May had slumped in August, but he seemed to correct his issues by going 6 for 13 in three games at Gwinnett.
Gattis took four pitches from Torres before crushing a cutter into the seats in left-center field. It was his first homer since the Braves' 8-2 victory at New York on July 24 - a span of 70 at-bats.
"It's good to square the ball up, first," Gattis said. "It just ended up being a home run, you know."
Atlanta has won 29 of its last 38 games and has rallied for 41 victories, best in the NL.
Notes: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said RF Jason Heyward , on the 15-day disabled list with a broken jaw, met with a doctor Tuesday and has been cleared to play catch and hit balls off a tee. ... Medlen is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA and has 29 strikeouts in 25 1-3 innings in four starts against the Mets this year. ... Collins said before the game that he expects RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his next scheduled start Sunday at Cleveland. Matsuzaka is 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA in three starts with New York. ... Collins added 1B Ike Davis , sidelined for the fourth straight with a strained right oblique, was in New York to see a doctor. ... Braves OF Jordan Schafer grounded out as a pinch-hitter for Medlen in the seventh. Schafer went 4 for 5 on Monday before leaving the game early with a sore back.