The Braves reduced their majors-leading overall ERA to 1.82 with Sunday’s shutout, and Atlanta’s relievers shaved theirs to 1.30, also the best in either league.
The Braves bullpen hasn’t allowed any of its 14 inherited runners to score this season, the only team in the majors that can make that claim. Two of those came Sunday, when starter Paul Maholm left with two runners on base in the eighth inning.
Rookie left-hander Luis Avilan walked Bryce Harper to loaded the bases before getting an inning-ending groundout, and Cory Gearrin pitched perfect ninth to complete the four-hit shutout.
“I was sweating a little bit today,” Maholm said, smiling. “But no, whenever those guys come in, it’s all the confidence in the world with whoever is out there. Every one of them that’s out there has great stuff.”
Manager Fredi Gonzalez knocked on the wooden desk in the visiting manager’s office at Nationals Park when someone mentioned the inherited-runners stat to him Sunday.
“You know I don’t like talking about that because next week it’ll be something different,” he said. “But we’ve got guys down there you can match up with, with (Eric) O’Flaherty and Avilan from the left side, and (Jordan) Walden can get lefties out. (Craig) Kimbrel at the back end, Gearrin with the righties…. It’s a nice bullpen.”