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Jurrjens named NL's top pitcher for May

Jurrjens named NL's top pitcher for May

Jurrjens named NL's top pitcher for May
ATLANTA -- After breezing through May, Jair Jurrjens was named the National League's Pitcher of the Month.

While going 5-1 with a 1.65 ERA in his six May starts, Jurrjens recorded 24 strikeouts, issued six walks and completed 43 2/3 innings. Opponents compiled a .269 on-base percentage against him, but recorded just six hits in 24 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Coming off last year's injury-plagued season, Jurrjens has spent the first two months of this season rekindling the success he had in 2009, when he ranked third in the NL with a 2.60 ERA.

"I'm just happy to be out there," Jurrjens said after beating the Pirates on May 24. "Last year, I was just frustrated. I kept getting hit by injuries. I'm just trying to enjoy my time out there and go deeper into the games and save the bullpen. I'm having fun, and that's the main thing that's going on right now."

Jurrjens claimed two of his May wins while limiting the Phillies to four runs in 14 innings. His lone loss came on May 19, when he limited the D-backs to two runs in 6 2/3 innings.

On his way to posting a Major League-leading 1.51 ERA, Jurrjens has become just the fourth pitcher in Major League history to allow two earned runs or fewer and pitch at least six innings in each of his first nine starts of a season.

Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies set the record when he did this in his first 12 starts last year. Like Jurrjens, Randy Johnson (2000) and Lefty Gomez (1937) did so in their first nine starts of a season.

"It's an honor," Jurrjens said Sunday. "It's not easy to be a starting pitcher in this league. I went out there and knew the bullpen needed a rest. I just made sure I kept my pitch count down and stay deeper in the game."

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