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Jurrjens extends scoreless streak in Braves win

POSTED: March 21, 2008 5:01 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens throws during a spring training game earlier this year in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Jair Jurrjens is making it hard for the Atlanta Braves to keep him out of the starting rotation.

Jurrjens ran his scoreless streak to eight innings Monday, limiting St. Louis to two singles and a walk in four innings as Atlanta beat the Cardinals 3-1.

“I’m trying to show I belong here,” the 21-year-old from Curacao said. “Until I get the news, I don’t have a spot.”

The words he wants to hear might be coming soon.

“He’s a true pitcher,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “I know he won’t be perfect all the time, but he has been so far.”

Acquired from Detroit in an offseason trade for shortstop Edgar Renteria, Jurrjens faced just one batter more than the minimum. He picked a runner off first base and another was erased on a double play.

The right-hander threw 25 of his 39 pitches for strikes. He threw only one ball in each of his last two innings, needing just 14 pitches.

“I’m not trying to strike people out,” said Jurrjens, who fanned one. “I like to throw for contact.”

Jurrjens gave up a first-inning run in his initial start this spring against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but hasn’t been touched since. He pitched three hitless innings in his second start against Cleveland.
He is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in spring training and has allowed six baserunners in nine innings.

“I love the way he pitches,” Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. “He’s got great command.”
Jurrjens made his major league debut with Detroit last August and was 3-1 with a 4.70 ERA in seven starts for the Tigers. In 89 minor league games, he is 35-22 with a 3.20 ERA.

While Jurrjens was sharp all afternoon, Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright struggled early with his control.

Wainwright, who won 16 games last season and is expected to be the opening-day starter, gave up two first-inning runs before steadying. He allowed three hits and three walks in five innings, with just one baserunner coming in his final three frames.

“He came out (after the first inning) and had a thought in mind that he needed to make a switch,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “He and (pitching coach Dave Duncan) talked about it and he was better.”

Wainwright, 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA this spring, was able to get in the five innings he was shooting for, throwing 62 pitches.

“He did all right,” La Russa said. “He didn’t throw his curveball as good, but he had command of his fastball and that’s always important.”

Javy Lopez, trying to make a comeback with the Braves, homered in the seventh off reliever Chris Perez. The veteran catcher had been 1-for-12 since homering in his first spring at-bat.

Notes: Braves LHP Mike Hampton will pitch Wednesday as scheduled, but in a simulated game rather than that night’s exhibition against Cleveland. Cox said Hampton looked good during a bullpen session Monday, but did have a little tightness in his right groin during his last few pitches. Hampton, who missed the past two seasons because of elbow operations, left his start Friday against Detroit because of a strained groin. ... LHP Tom Glavine will make his third start of the spring for the Braves on tonight against Washington.



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