At least he didn’t lose.
Kenshin Kawakami pitched 6-2/3 innings, allowing just four hits, against Pittsburgh Sunday but came away with a no-decision in the Braves’ 5-2 win.
Kawakami, who is 0-7 with a 4.66 ERA in 10 starts this season, allowed two earned runs in the seventh inning before leaving. After a walk to Garrett Jones, Jeff Clement ripped a two-seam fastball over the centerfield fence. The Braves scored three in the eighth for the win.
“The win for the team is more important than my win,” Kawakami said through a translator. “Giving up that two-run home run was difficult for me but at the same time the team won and I’m happy about that.”
In his past three starts, Kawakami has allowed five earned runs and 16 hits in 18-2/3 innings. He has been a victim of poor run support all season. Before Sunday’s game, Kawakami had 2.7 runs of support per nine innings, third worst in the National League. By contrast, teammate Derek Lowe, who is 7-4, had 6.9 runs of support per nine innings, sixth best in the NL.
“He had only given up [three] hits going into that inning,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He did a great job and held us there. I wish we would have gotten him five or six runs during the course of that ball game.”
Had he lost Sunday, Kawakami would have been the first pitcher in Braves history to start 0-8 with all decisions as a starter.
“He deserved to win,” Chipper Jones said. “We are trying like heck to get him a ‘W’”.
Cox said he spoke to Kawakami twice following his outing. “He gave me compliments and I’m happy about that,” the right-hander said.
Kawakami got his second hit of the season – and third of his major-league career – with a ground-rule double in the sixth inning.
“I just tried to swing out of my shoes and it somehow found the bat,” Kawakami said.