Avilan settles down after big hit, spares 'pen

Avilan settles down after big hit, spares 'pen

Avilan settles down after big hit, spares 'pen
ATLANTA -- Making his second Major League appearance, Braves left-hander Luis Avilan jogged in from the bullpen Tuesday night with one out in the fourth inning and the bases loaded. Waiting at the plate to face him was Buster Posey, the Giants' All-Star catcher.

The Braves were already reeling after starter Jair Jurrjens allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings and loaded the bases before manager Fredi Gonzalez was forced to go to the bullpen. Posey quickly made the situation worse, hitting a bases-clearing double to left-center field.

"Posey's right now one of the best hitters in the National League," Avilan said. "It's a tough situation and I made a mistake. He hit the ball really hard and really good."

Gonzalez acknowledged it was a difficult spot for anyone, but especially a rookie.

"It's a tough spot to put the young man in," Gonzalez said. "It's just tough. I think the kid did a nice job settling down after that and gave us a pretty good outing."

Avilan did settle down, allowing one run and striking out five batters in 3 2/3 innings. Perhaps most importantly, Avilan saved Gonzalez from having to use his whole bullpen just to get through the game.

Avilan said he was disappointed he wasn't able to strand the runners he inherited from Jurrjens, but was otherwise pleased with how he pitched.

"First of all, I feel bad because I didn't hold the runners," Avilan said. "But then I did the job and saved the bullpen because I threw a couple, three innings. I feel great. I feel like my pitches were very good."

Gonzalez said Avilan won't be available out of the bullpen for a couple of days after throwing 67 pitches Tuesday. But it was an important role to be filled.

"For a young man who hadn't pitched but a third of an inning in the Major Leagues, I thought he did a terrific job getting us through those middle innings," Gonzalez said.