Braves reliever Billy Wagner struck out the side in the ninth to record his 400th save of his major league career. Wagner joins fellow lefty John Franco as the only left handed pitchers with 400 saves in a career. Wagner despite pitching at a high level has already announced his intentions to retire at the end of the season. When asked about striking out the side while getting the milestone Wagner had this to say
“I don’t think you draw it up quite like that. I mean, that’s a fantasy-type situation. But I had ‘em swinging at some high pitches so, you know, you take it. Because it doesn’t happen very often.”
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Kris Medlen pitched six and two thirds of one run baseball to earn the win and further cement himself into the starting rotation. With Jair Jurrjens set to make his return next Wednesday this was Medlen’s last opportunity to impress for a job that he should have won long ago.
Detroit struck first against Medlen when Tigers Rookie Brennan Boesch singled scoring Ramon Santiago. The Braves quickly tied things up in the second on a Melky Cabrera RBI single that scored Yunel Escobar. The Braves then decided to play long ball as Brian McCann launched his ninth home run of the season in the fourth inning. The Braves added their final run on a Brooks Conrad pinch hit solo home run in the eighth.
Eric O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan, and Jonny Venters combined to pitch combined to pitch an inning and a third or hitless relief before giving way to Wagner in the ninth.
The win keeps the Braves in first place by a half a game over the red hot New York Mets. This was Atlanta’s 15th win in their last 16 games at home.
Kenshin Kawakami (0-9, 4.78) will be on the hill in what could be his last turn in the rotation with Jurrjens set to return. Former Diamondback Max Scherzer (4-6, 5.67) will be on the hill for the Tigers. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 ET.