Medlen shows maturity in second season

Medlen shows maturity in second season

SAN FRANCISCO -- While pitching the final two innings of Friday's 13-inning loss to the Giants, Kris Medlen didn't look like the same wide-eyed rookie who had stood on this same AT&T Park mound 11 months earlier and struggled through a losing 5 1/3-inning start.

"The first month or so in the big leagues last year, that wasn't me," Medlen said. "I know I'm a nervous guy to begin with. But I feel a lot more comfortable and it's a lot easier to just be yourself with the dudes that we have on the team."

Medlen entered Friday's game in the 12th inning and managed to keep the game tied after Pablo Sandoval greeted him with an opposite-field bloop double. Sandoval advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt and then was left stranded when the Braves right-hander ended the inning with a weak groundout and strikeout.

One inning later, Medlen issued a one-out walk to Juan Uribe, who advanced to third base on an errant throw from Brian McCann and then scored the winning run on Aaron Rowand's two-out infield single.

While Medlen was saddled with the tough-luck loss, his effort provided Braves manager Bobby Cox even more reason to believe he's capable of serving as a versatile reliever, who can be a long man or get clutch outs during the middle innings.

"He threw great [Friday]," Cox said. "He's pretty valuable."