Craig Kimbrel blew a save for the third time in 11 opportunities Wednesday, but that didn't cost him any standing in the eyes of his manager.
Fredi Gonzalez gave the ball to Kimbrel in another key situation Thursday, in a 5-5 game at the start of the 10th inning. Kimbrel struck out all three Washington batters in the top of the inning. When Brian McCann's single scored Martin Prado in the bottom half, Atlanta had a 6-5 win, and Kimbrel had his first win of the season.
"We'll keep running him out there," Gonzalez said of Kimbrel. "You just hope the learning curve is there, and I think it is.
"This guy's a talented, young, bright guy. This guy's (throwing) 97, 98 (mph) with a plus breaking ball and a good fastball. Stuff-wise, he's always there. I think sometimes, we've just got to get through these situations. And when we do, watch out."
Kimbrel wasn't the only bullpen star Thursday. Four relievers each pitched a scoreless, hitless inning, allowing the Braves to rally from a 5-1 deficit on Prado's grand slam. Cory Gearrin struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh. Eric O'Flaherty fanned one in a perfect eighth. Jonny Venters struck out two and walked one in the ninth, leading up to Kimrel's three-whiff 10th.
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