Braves take series win, but Medlen injured
Chipper, McCann, Melky homer; starter hurts right elbow
ATLANTA -- Releasing some of the frustration created by his club's recent offensive woes, Brian McCann extended his mastery of Mike Pelfrey and homered in the same game as Chipper Jones for the first time in more than a year.
McCann and Jones victimized Pelfrey with back-to-back third-inning homers, and the Braves benefited from four errors while cruising toward an 8-3 win over the Mets on Wednesday night at Turner Field.
"We've been close to busting out," Jones said. "The only thing that people have been harping on is the runners in scoring position. We've had guys on base. We've been swinging the bats. We just haven't been doing it at the right time."
While recording just one hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position, the Braves didn't exactly cure their recent offensive woes. But with McCann producing a three-RBI night that included a pair of doubles and a homer, they managed to claim their first series victory since July 22 and won for just the fifth time in their past 12 games.
"I thought everybody swung the bats well tonight," McCann said. "Everybody had good at-bats. Our pitching did it again. They've been doing it on a daily basis, and it was good for our offense to come through since we haven't been that good for the last week and a half."
In the process of maintaining their two-game advantage over the Phillies in the National League East race, the Braves were subdued by the fact that Kris Medlen was forced to leave in the fifth inning with an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that could require season-ending Tommy John surgery. The 24-year-old right-hander is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam Thursday.
Jones and McCann erased Medlen's early deficit with consecutive two-out solo homers off Pelfrey in the third inning. This marked the first time since April 17, 2008, that this duo combined for back-to-back homers. It also marked the first time since June 8, 2009, that they homered in the same game.
"It always feels good to go back-to-back," McCann said. "It gave us the lead back, and we didn't look back after that."
McCann, who has compiled a .486 career batting average against Pelfrey, scored Jones from first base with a two-out double in the first inning. His fifth-inning, two-out RBI double came after the Mets right-hander issued a four-pitch walk to Jones.
|"I thought everybody swung the bats well tonight. Everybody had good at-bats. Our pitching did it again. They've been doing it on a daily basis, and it was good for our offense to come through since we haven't been that good for the last week and a half."|
|-- Brian McCann|
Even with McCann's double in the two-run fifth, which was capped by Pelfrey hitting Matt Diaz with a pitch with the bases loaded, the Braves have hit just .162 with runners in scoring position over their past 12 games.
"When you face certain guys, certain guys stack up well against you and certain guys don't," McCann said. "He's got great stuff. I've been seeing the ball well, and I thought I had some good at-bats tonight. I was happy with the results."
Melky Cabrera added a solo shot off Raul Valdes in the eighth inning.
With his second homer in three games, Jones helped improve his career batting average against Pelfrey to .385 (10-for-26). The Mets' hurler was charged with five runs -- three earned -- on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He has gone 0-4 with a 9.24 ERA in his past six starts.
"I thought [Pelfrey's] problem was the two middle guys in the lineup," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "When we had that situation with those two middle guys and we weren't able to get either one out, walked one and the other one came up and hit a double, I thought that was probably the ballgame for us right there. We didn't manage that very well, not at all."
Jose Reyes sparked the two-run fifth when he fielded Braves reliever Mike Dunn's grounder and fired a throw into the home dugout. The Mets' shortstop made another errant throw to account for the first of the three errors that led to two unearned runs in the sixth.
Medlen was forced to exit when he felt tightness in his right forearm and elbow after throwing a 2-1 changeup to Reyes in the fifth. After being evaluated by assistant trainer Jim Lovell, he was unable to even attempt to test his arm with a warmup pitch.
The Braves may promote Mike Minor, the seventh overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, to fill Medlen's spot in the rotation. Given that he has pitched just one inning since being removed from the rotation after his June 26 start, Kenshin Kawakami likely wouldn't have the endurance necessary to serve as a starter.
Before revealing their plan, the Braves will wait to review Medlen's MRI results.
"It's never happened to me before, so I don't know what to think right now," Medlen said. "I'll have the MRI tomorrow. You don't really know anything until then."
Dunn recorded the final out in the fifth inning, and then retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth. The effort was good enough for the left-handed reliever to be rewarded with his first career victory. Kyle Farnsworth, who had allowed a game-tying seventh-inning single in Tuesday night's loss, worked a scoreless ninth to seal the victory.
"Some of the other parts had to pitch, and Mike Dunn did a credible job out there," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.