LOS ANGELES — Troy Glaus is
picking up right where he left off in May, when he earned NL Player of
the Month honors.
Glaus homered for the fourth time in
five games and drove in Atlanta's first two runs in a 4-3 victory over
the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night, helping the Braves record
their ninth straight victory.
Martin Prado opened the game with a
double and scored on a two-out single by Glaus, ending a string of 31
consecutive scoreless innings by Dodgers pitchers — the team's longest
since a 37-inning streak in July 1991. The 2002 World Series MVP made it
2-0 in the fourth with a towering drive into the lower seats in the
left-field corner for his 10th home run.
"He's definitely been the MVP of this
club so far," teammate Chipper Jones said. "He's confident. I mean, he's
walking up there thinking he can do damage against anybody right now.
It doesn't matter what your name is or what you throw up there. He's
just locked in. And when he gets a mistake, he's not missing it. He's
hitting it for a double or a home run. He's coming through in all the
big spots where we need a big two-out base hit to score a run."
The Braves' streak is their best since
a 15-game stretch during the 2000 season — which was the longest by an
NL team since the 1951 New York Giants (16 straight) and the longest by
the Braves' franchise since it moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966.
The Dodgers ended it in the finale of a three-game series at Los
The Braves were last in the NL East
and 6 1/2 games back May 18, but now lead the division by three games
over the two-time NL champion Philadelphia Phillies — whom they swept
just before coming out West.
"There hasn't been a difference, as
far as how we come to the field every day," rookie right fielder Jason
Heyward said. "We look to go out every day and treat it as a new day,
then go out and have fun. That's been the mindset, because we all
understand as a team that there's going to be ups and downs in a
Kris Medlen (3-1) took a three-hit
shutout into the eighth and doubled home a run. He was charged with
three runs — two earned — and six hits in a career-high 7 1/3 innings,
striking out three and walking none in his ninth big league start.
"I was very impressed with the number
of strikes he threw," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "He located very
well, and that fastball-changeup combination gets it off the fat of the
bat. But we're not having the quality at-bats we were having a week or
so ago. The opposing pitchers' pitch counts have been very low."
Medlen departed with a 4-0 lead and
the bases loaded before pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard greeted Peter
Moylan with an RBI single. Blake DeWitt followed James Loney to the
plate after a wild throw by Heyward.
Jamey Carroll scored the third run on
Rafael Furcal's groundout, and Matt Kemp walked before Eric O'Flaherty
replaced Moylan and struck out Andre Ethier.
Former Dodger Takashi Saito, who had
to close for Billy Wagner after four appearances in four days by the
All-Star lefty, retired the first two batters in the ninth before
injuring his left hamstring throwing an 0-1 strike to Russell Martin.
Jonny Venters came on and struck out
Martin with his only pitch for his first major league save. After the
game, manager Bobby Cox nicknamed him "The Vulture."
"I had just gotten up to throw my
first warmup pitch and they told me to go out, so the adrenaline kind of
took over from there," Venters said. "Bobby told me to throw a slider
in the dirt. I did, and fortunately he swung. I just hope Saito's all
Hiroki Kuroda (5-4) gave up four runs
— three earned — and seven hits in six innings before he was removed
for a pinch-hitter. Jeff Weaver was brought in to replace him in the
sixth, but worked up a blister while making his warmup tosses and was
taken out after a visit by trainer Stan Conte and Torre.
Both teams played without their
regular third baseman. Casey Blake was scratched from Torre's original
lineup because of back spasms. Jones was sidelined because of
inflammation in the ring finger on his right hand, which has bothered
him since last weekend's series against Pittsburgh and forced him to
leave Wednesday's game.
"The doc said he wanted me to let it
sit for a couple of days and see if the pain subsided, and if it didn't,
then think about a shot — which would probably cost me another couple
of days," Jones said. "It's tough hitting right-handed and it's still
going to be painful, so I'll probably have to hit left-handed at some
Saito had a career-high 39
saves for Los Angeles in 2007. … Medlen made four relief appearances
against the Dodgers as a rookie last year and got a victory in one of
them with two hitless innings, striking out Ethier, Ramirez and Kemp in