for this game

Parr makes stellar debut as Braves blank Nationals

Sep 5, 2008 - 2:49 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- James Parr made a great impression in his major league debut for the Atlanta Braves.

Parr outdueled Shairon Martis, who was also pitching in his first big-league game, to lead the struggling Braves to a 2-0 victory over the last-place Washington Nationals on Thursday.

Brian McCann and Gregor Blanco drove in a run each for Atlanta, which won for just the sixth time in its last 24 games.

"What a night he had," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Parr, who helped the Braves earn their first shutout since August 3 vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. "He's sneaky quick. I was impressed. It's a great way to break in."

The 22-year-old Parr (1-0) has been one of the better Braves' pitching prospects this season, finishing the minor league season at 13-7 with a 3.52 ERA in 28 games split between Class AA Mississippi and Class AAA Richmond.

The rookie earned a cup of coffee with the big-league club after a sensational end of his 2008 campaign, in which he allowed just three runs over his last four starts.

Parr took the hill after Jo-Jo Reyes was scratched due to the birth of his first child on Wednesday. He picked up right where he left off in the minors.

"I didn't want to change anything," Parr said. "I felt like I was pitching (in the minor leagues)."

The rookie scattered two hits while walking three and striking out three over six scoreless frames to notch his first major league win. Parr hurled 60 of his 101 pitches for strikes to cool a red-hot Nationals' lineup, which had helped its club win eight of its last nine games entering this one.

"I was told (Wednesday) that I was going to start," said Parr, who was presented with the team's lineup card after the game. "I slept great. ... I felt great when it was over and I had six zeros up."

However, the rookie was not completely satisfied with his debut.

"I was just uncomfortable out there," said Parr, who was disappointed with his walk total. "The plate felt close. ... I could have (pitched better). I'm glad I got a win. Next time I go out there, I'm going to improve. I'll get the ball in the zone more."

The only Washington player to get a hit off of Parr was Ronnie Belliard, who had three hits. No Nationals' player got further than second base.

Jeff Bennett and Julian Tavarez held Washington scoreless in the seventh and eighth, and Mike Gonzalez completed the five-hit shutout by striking out the side after allowing a leadoff double in the ninth to record his 39th consecutive save opportunity.

It was the first time that two starting pitchers have made their major league debuts in the same game since Nate Cornejo of the Detroit Tigers and Joaquin Benoit of the Texas Rangers debuted against each other on August 8, 2001.

Despite some wildness, Martis (0-1) deserved a better fate.

The 21-year-old rookie from Curcao followed in the footsteps of his countrymen, former Braves outfielder Andruw Jones and rookie hurler Jair Jurrjens, into the big-leagues by allowing two runs and four hits, walking five and striking out two.

"It was pretty exciting," Martis said. "After the first inning, I was feeling more comfortable. Once I got my first strikeout, I was OK."

Martis, who represented the Nationals in the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium this year and donned a Netherlands uniform at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, hurled 46 of his 92 pitches for strikes in a five-inning effort.

"I think I did pretty well," Martis said. "Five innings, I'm happy with it."

Parr and Martis were not the only ones playing in their first big-league game in this one. Washington catcher Luke Montz also made his debut and was hitless in three at-bats.

Atlanta spoiled the Washington duo's coming-out party.

Red-hot Kelly Johnson ignited a third inning rally by lacing a one-out triple and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Brian McCann to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. The Braves extended the lead one frame later when the rookie issued free passes to Casey Kotchman, Brandon Jones and Parr before Blanco plated Atlanta's second run on a fielder's choice.

Johnson finished 2-for-4 and has eight hits in his last 12 at-bats.

"I got taped up," said Johnson, joking about the reason for his recent hot streak. "(Greg) Norton showed me how to wrap my wrists."

Belliard left the game with a right groin strain while legging out an infield hit in the top of the seventh.

"Belliard has a bad groin pull," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "He may be down for the year. We'll have an MRI (Friday) morning."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
    ATLANTA 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 x 2 5 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - SHAIRON MARTIS, GARRETT MOCK (6TH), CHARLIE MANNING (7TH),
    STEVEN SHELL (7TH), LEVALE SPEIGNER (8TH) AND LUKE MONTZ
    ATL - JAMES PARR, JEFF BENNETT (7TH), JULI

    Sep 4 9:42 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY GREGOR BLANCO SCORED CASEY KOTCHMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G BLANCO ON FIRST, B JONES ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    ATLANTA 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.272, 1-FOR-2)

    Nationals 0, Braves 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 4 8:21 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED KELLY JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C JONES ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    ATLANTA 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: O INFANTE (.316, 0-FOR-1)

    Nationals 0, Braves 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 4 8:02 PM