Atlanta rookie throws 6 shutout innings vs. Nats
Published 10:11 pm Thursday, September 4, 2008
ATLANTA – James Parr didn’t change a thing in his major league debut.
Parr tossed six shutout innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 Thursday night.
Parr (1-0) surrendered just two hits — both to Ronnie Belliard — walked three and struck out three and didn’t allow a runner past second base.
The 22-year-old right-hander was 5-3 at Triple-A Richmond, 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his last three starts.
“I didn’t want to change anything. I just pitched the way I had been,” said Parr.
“I was glad my family was here,” said the youngster, who was born and lives in Albuquerque, N.M. His mom, dad, girlfriend, other relatives and friends were in the stands.
“I was a little nervous, just uncomfortable early. It was very uncharacteristic of me to walk three guys (all in first three innings). I struggled early, then turned it around later,” said Parr.
He threw 101 pitches, 60 for strikes. His fast ball was never clocked at more than 88 mph.
“What a night he had,” said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. “He’s sneaky quick. He doesn’t light up the radar gun, but he’s got a little looping curve and a change-up. I was impressed. It’s a great way to break in.”
Jeff Bennett worked the seventh, Julian Tavarez pitched the eighth and Mike Gonzalez got three outs to complete the five-hitter, Atlanta’s seventh shutout of the season. Gonzalez struck out the side after Ryan Zimmerman’s leadoff double.
Gonzalez has converted all nine of his save opportunities this season and 39 straight overall, the longest current streak in the major leagues, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He has not blown a save since June 25, 2004, for Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.
Shairon Martis (0-1) also pitched well for Washington in his major league debut, allowing two runs and four hits in five innings. He walked five and struck out two.
“I think I did pretty well. Five innings. I’m happy with it,” said Martis, who pitched for the Netherlands in the Olympic games in China.
“It was exciting. After the first inning, I was feeling more comfortable,” he said.
Atlanta’s Brian McCann hit a sacrifice fly in the third and Gregor Blanco drove in Casey Kotchman with a fielder’s choice in the fourth.
The Braves won for only the sixth time in 24 games and ended Washington’s five-game winning streak in the season series. The Nationals, mired in last in the NL East, had won eight of nine and hold a 10-5 season edge over Atlanta this season.
Notes: Washington 1B Belliard left for a pinch runner after straining his right groin running out an infield hit in the seventh. He went 3-for-3. “I hurt it right then, as I was running to first base. It hurts.” There was no timetable for his return. “He may be down for the year,” said Nationals manager Manny Acta. “We’ll have an MRI tomorrow morning.” … Nationals SS Christian Guzman had his franchise single-season record of eight straight multihit games end. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. … Washington RHP Shawn Hill will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow Friday in Pensacola, Fla. Hill was 1-5 with a 5.83 ERA in 12 games. … Braves 3B Chipper Jones started after missing two games with a twisted right knee he hurt during infield practice on Tuesday. He went 1-for-1 with three walks and is batting .359, one point behind Albert Pujos for the NL lead. … Atlanta SS Yunel Escobar did not play. He left Wednesday’s game when he re-injured his left shoulder. … Kotchman made his first start since going on the bereavement list on Aug. 20 to be with his ill mother. She was released from the hospital on Thursday.