Kris Medlen is going to give the Atlanta Braves fits once Tommy Hanson is off the disabled list on how to best utilize him. The young righty put together another strong outing in his second start of the season, taking a no decision in the Braves' 6-1 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday at Turner Field.
"I don't think any one of us had any doubts that he could do it," Chipper Jones said. "But he still may be more valuable as that swing man in the bullpen. It's a tough call."
Medlen threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up only a single run that Cory Gearrin had inherited, striking out six and walking two. He pounded the strike zone throwing 53 of his 79 pitches for strikes.
Rain kept him at five innings on Tuesday in his last start against the Miami Marlins when he picked up a W. He only needed 57 pitches in his effort, but he seems to be more secure with going to the bullpen this time around than he did at the beginning of the season, when he expressed disappointment.
"I love [starting]," Medlen. "It's a lot of fun. But if I have to go back to the bullpen when Tommy comes back, I'll be fine with it. I understand the situation."
Marvin Gonzalez and Brett Wallace ended Medlen's day with consecutive one-out singles in the sixth. Medlen was yanked in favor of Cory Gearrin, but Gearrin surrendered a game-tying double to Justin Maxwell. Maxwell hit two homers in Saturday night's loss. Jonny Venters was brought in to strikeout Matt Downs, and, after intentionally walking Steve Pearce, got J.D. Martinez to groundout to end the inning.
The action was the first Venters had seen in a week after experience elbow tenderness after a DL stint for the same ailment.
David Ross had accounted for the only Braves run off Houston starter Bud Norris to that point, but the bottom of the sixth saw the Braves take advantage of key mistakes by Norris.
Jones, Freddie Freeman and Ross each singled to load the bases with two outs. With Paul Janish batting, Jones scored on a wild pitch. Three pitches later, Janish singled up the middle to bring home two more runs.
Chipper doubled home a run in the seventh, and Michael Bourn drove in a run on a single to snap an 0-for-13 skid.
Norris has not won since May 21.
The Braves kept pace with the Washington Nationals to leave them three games back in the NL East.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Bud Norris, Chipper Jones, Cory Gearrin, David Ross, Justin Maxwell, Kris Medlen, Michael Bourn, MLB, Paul Janish
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