Seeing a pitcher two times in a row doesn't seem to matter when the pitcher is as hot as Jair Jurrjens. After allowing just one run in 6.1 innings against the Phillies on May 8, Jurrjens allowed just two runs on three hits in 7.1 innings this time out, resulting in a 5-3 win for the Braves.
The Braves opened the scoring quickly when Martin Prado and Nate McLouth hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, worth .102 and .090 WPA.
Neither team could get anything going from the second to sixth. The Braves scattered baserunners in the second, third and fourth but couldn't do anything with them. The Phillies didn't reach base until Michael Martinez singled with two outs in the sixth, which was followed by a double from Jimmy Rollins that scored Martinez and cut the lead to 2-1, worth .077 WPA.
However, the Braves quickly answered in the bottom of the sixth when Dan Uggla walked, Freddie Freeman singled him to second and he moved to third on a flyout. With two outs, David Ross dropped down a bunt that surprised the Phillies and led to an RBI single, worth .102 WPA. After Jurrjens walked to load the bases, Prado singled home two for a 5-1 lead, worth .092 WPA.
The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but Freeman grounded into a double play. For some strange reason, Charlie Manuel decided to walk Alex Gonzalez to get to Ross, which sounds incredibly dumb, but it worked this time as Ross grounded out to end the inning and preserve the 5-1 Atlanta lead.
The Phillies put two on the board in the eighth off of a gassed Jurrjens. Wilson Valdez doubled home a run, worth .044 WPA, and John Mayberry Jr. grounded out to bring home the other run. The Braves held to a 5-3 lead for the rest of the game.
Jurrjens pitched a perfect game for 5.2 innings, so he is most definitely the focus of the game. Over the span of 17 straight retired, Jurrjens struck out all six batters he would fan in the game. Also over that span, he induced six groundouts to five flyouts, two being infield flies. He went to a three-ball count four times in the 17 batters faced, as well.
Jurrjens is now 5-0 on the season, sporting a 1.66 ERA. The three runs are actually the most he has allowed in six starts this season, though only two were earned. He has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any start. The six strikeouts matches his season high, and the 7.1 innings is actually only the third longest start for him so far. Incredibly improved control has transformed Jurrjens into a different pitcher.
Stat of the Day:
Despite being behind the others by two or three starts, Jurrjens is tied for first in the National League in wins with five. Also, despite being two starts behind, he only has three fewer innings than Tommy Hanson.
(ATL) Jair Jurrjens: .198
(ATL) Martin Prado: .158
(ATL) David Ross: .084
(PHI) Kyle Kendrick: -.168
(PHI) Ryan Howard: -.103
(PHI) Ben Francisco: -.080
The Braves moved back to within 4.5 games of the Phillies and 2.5 behind the Marlins. The weekend series with Philadelphia is tied at one apiece.
The Braves will send Tim Hudson to the mound to face Roy Halladay in the rubber game on Sunday.