Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel now owns yet another record (a sentence you may see a lot in coming years), as he broke the Braves franchise record for saves with his 155th career save.
Kimbrel passed Braves legend John Smoltz to take the franchise lead in saves, and did it with a little panache, getting a rare 4-out save in the Braves 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 26-year-old Kimbrel entered in the 8th inning to face former Braves teammate Martin Prado with two outs and a runner at first. Prado struck out looking, and then in the 9th inning, Kimbrel retired Aaron Hill, David Peralta and Tuffy Gosewich to record the record-breaking save.
”I’ve been a part of a lot of good teams and had a lot of opportunities,” Kimbrel said in an interview. ”Having the chance my first full season to be a closer, that doesn’t happen very often and that’s why we’re sitting here talking today, because I had that opportunity a lot of guys don’t have.
”I feel blessed and grateful for it.”
And the Braves certainly feel blessed and grateful to have a closer like Kimbrel, who has converted 16 of 18 save opportunities this season, and 155 of 172 in his career.
“I’m excited for him,” Friday’s starter Julio Teheran told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He deserves it, and that’s only the start of what he’s going to do for this team.”
The win moved Atlanta back into sole possession of first place in the NL East.