ATLANTA -- Having exited the game two innings earlier for a pinch-hitter, Braves right-hander Kris Medlen was sitting alone in the clubhouse when Freddie Freeman stepped to the plate in the ninth inning Tuesday. A victory would clinch a spot in the postseason, but the Braves were down one run to the Marlins with a runner on second and no outs. Talking to no one, Medlen began making promises of what he would do if Freeman hit a walk-off home run.
On the third pitch of the at-bat, a 1-1 fastball, Freeman did just that, sending a missile over the center-field fence to give the Braves a 4-3 victory and a berth in the postseason.
"I said some things I probably shouldn't have said, things that I would do if he hit a home run and he did," Medlen said. "I am a man of my word but not to that extent."
Freeman's home run set off the Braves' celebration in earnest, but also obscured Medlen and the Braves tying a Major League record. The victory extended the Braves' winning streak in games started by Medlen to 22, matching the Yankees' mark in Whitey Ford starts from 1950-1953 and the Giants' streak in Carl Hubbell starts from 1936-1937.
The Braves and Medlen's streak began May 29, 2010, and has overcome his Tommy John surgery later that season and him beginning this season in the bullpen.
"Guys have just played their butts off, and it's gotten me this little streak thing," Medlen said. "I'm just excited. You give up a few runs and the guys battle back for you."
Medlen gave up three runs on five hits in seven innings Tuesday against the Marlins. He struck out eight batters and walked none. Though he left with the Braves trailing 3-2, Medlen said it was one of his better starts during the streak.
Right fielder Jason Heyward said the Braves were happy to pick Medlen up after he has been their best starter since joining the rotation at the end of July.
"He can't go out there and strike them out every time," Heyward said. "That's the name of the game of baseball. It's not going to happen every night for everybody."
As a starter this season, Medlen has a 1.04 ERA and has struck out 80 batters in 77 2/3 innings.
Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.