Jair Jurrjens(notes) has had the kind of command this season that’s allowed him to pile up wins for the Atlanta Braves. A lack of control has kept him from ever beating the Cincinnati Reds during his career.
Jurrjens will try to move into a tie for the major league lead in wins and pitch the Braves to their fourth win in five games Sunday night in the finale of a weekend set at home against the weary Reds.
The right-hander has gone at least seven innings during each home start in 2011, winning all three while posting a 1.64 ERA. He’s struck out 14 while walking only two in 22 innings at Turner Field.
Jurrjens’ only loss of the year came May 19 at Arizona, but he bounced back in fine fashion Tuesday at Pittsburgh by giving up six hits in 7 2-3 innings of the Braves’ 2-0 win.
“I think out of (his) pitches, there were maybe one or two that didn’t hit the mark where (catcher Brian) McCann set up,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “So when you have that kind of command with all your pitches, you’re going to be successful.”
Success is something Jurrjens (6-1, 1.56 ERA) has yet to experience against the Reds, as he’s gone 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four career starts.
With a victory, Jurrjens would join Pittsburgh’s Kevin Correia(notes), Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels(notes) and Boston’s Jon Lester(notes) with seven wins in 2011. St. Louis’ Kyle Lohse(notes) and Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo(notes) are also trying to reach that mark Sunday.
The right-hander allowed three runs for the third consecutive start, and was lifted after six innings Tuesday against Philadelphia. He didn’t receive a decision as Cincinnati scored three in the top of the ninth and ended a six-game slide with a 6-3 victory.
Cueto is 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA in three career starts versus the Braves (29-24).
After falling 5-1 in Friday’s series opener, the Braves came back with a 7-6 win in 12 innings Saturday. Chipper Jones(notes) singled home Jordan Schafer(notes) to lift Atlanta to its 11th victory in 15 home games this month.
“It’s always good to come through on your last at-bat,” said Jones, who was 0 for 4 with a walk before his hit.
The Reds (27-26) played their second extra-inning game of the week after falling 5-4 in 19 to the Phillies on Wednesday. Cincinnati is 2-9 following a season high-tying five-game winning streak.
“We’re beat up right now. That 19-inning game, you’re still seeing the effects of that,” manager Dusty Baker said.
Jonny Gomes(notes) snapped an 0-for-16 slump Saturday by tying a career high with four hits, exactly one year to the day after his last four-hit game. Gomes, who raised his batting average 23 points to .191, is hitless in three at-bats against Jurrjens.