Kimbrel sets Braves saves record in 5-2 win

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 7, 2014 at 12:51 am •  Published: June 7, 2014
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PHOENIX (AP) — Nine days past his 26th birthday, Craig Kimbrel is the Atlanta Braves' career leader in saves.

That number figures to get a lot bigger before he's through.

Kimbrel got the final four outs in the Braves' 5-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night, earning his 16th save of the season (in 18 tries) and 155th of his career. That's one more than John Smoltz.

Those 155 saves have come in 172 opportunities.

"I've been a part of a lot of good teams and had a lot of opportunities," Kimbrel said. "Having the chance my first full season to be a closer, that doesn't happen very often and that's why we're sitting here talking today, because I had that opportunity a lot of guys don't have.

"I feel blessed and grateful for it."

Kimbrel had one save in 2010, 46 in 2011, 42 in 2012 and 50 in 2013.

"I've played with him for four years and some change and he's already the franchise leader in saves," teammate Jason Heyward said. "That's pretty cool."

Hayward drove in three runs, two with a home run, and Andrelton Simmons doubled in a run for the Braves.

Julio Teheran (6-3) gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings to win his fourth straight decision.

Didi Gregorius became the first Diamondback to hit leadoff home runs in consecutive starts. He did it Wednesday in Colorado, sat out Thursday's game, then did it again Friday.

Arizona's Brandon McCarthy (1-8) allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out nine and walking one.

McCarthy singled in the tying run in the fifth, his first career RBI.

Kimbrel entered the game with two outs and a runner at first in the eighth inning and got his former Atlanta teammate Martin Prado looking to end the inning.

With a three-run lead in the ninth, Kimbrel got Aaron Hill and David Peralta to fly out, then Tuffy Gosewich popped out to end it.

It was just his third career four-out save.

"He hadn't pitched since last Saturday," manager Fredi Gonzalez said, "so we were able to do that."

The Braves broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh when, with one out, Heyward drew the only walk McCarthy allowed. Simmons lashed a double to the corner in left, scoring Heyward from first.

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