BOSTON -- When Chad Durbin allowed home runs in each of his first three appearances, it was easy to understand why the Nationals released him before the end of Spring Training. Fortunately for the Braves, they did not allow this rough stretch to lead them to also release the veteran reliever.
Durbin had made 19 consecutive scoreless appearances (15 1/3 innings) before walking two of the first three batters he faced in the seventh inning of Wednesday's win over the Yankees. But to his credit, after allowing a Curtis Granderson RBI single, he kept the Braves' lead at one run by getting Alex Rodriguez to ground into a double play.
"I just think he's become more comfortable," pitching coach Roger McDowell said. "At the start of the year, he didn't know us and we didn't know him. I think he's just gotten more comfortable with us, teammates and being here."
With Jonny Venters struggling and Kris Medlen spending some time in the Minors earlier this month, Durbin took advantage of a few opportunities to prove effective in key late-inning situations. He has limited opponents to a .135 batting average and .237 on-base percentage while allowing just one run in his past 16 1/3 innings.