ATLANTA - One can talk about his improved mound mechanics, but according to Atlanta Braves pitcher Kevin Millwood, the real reason he's been able to turn his season around is as simple as 1-2-3.
"I'm finally to the point where I'm throwing three out pitches (two-seam fastball, curve and slider) for strikes," Millwood said before Wednesday's game against Florida. "In the past, if I got two strikes on a hitter, the fastball was the only pitch I had to put hitters away. It's a lot easier when you've got three."
Just ask the Chicago Cubs.
Millwood continued his string of dominating efforts in Tuesday's 2-0 victory, a game which saw the North Carolina native allow just two hits over seven innings with one walk and a season-high 11 strikeouts.
"I'm finding new ways to get guys out and that's made me a better pitcher," said Millwood. "Right now, I feel I have a plan going into every game and I'm sticking with it."
Millwood's sixth-straight win allowed him to improve his record to 8-5 and lower his earned run average to 3.84.
"It's been a lot of fun," Millwood said of his current streak. "We'll see how long I can keep it going."
DEROSA ACTIVATED: As expected, the Braves activated infielder Mark DeRosa from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and designated Jesse Garcia for assignment.
DeRosa had been on the DL since May 19 with ligament damage in his right ankle.
"I'm healthy and ready to go," said DeRosa, who was batting .345 with seven RBI when the injury occurred. "I'm going to try and help out wherever I can."
A shortstop by trade, DeRosa has played second base, third base and outfield for Atlanta this year.
During his 16-game rehab stint, DeRosa went 14-for-55 (.255) at Richmond and 0-for-7 at Class A Myrtle Beach.
Garcia's designation did not come as big surprise. The backup infielder was batting only .212 (11-for-52) with one extra base hit.
READY TO PITCH: After failing to win a game in over a month, Tom Glavine made some subtle changes with his mechanics during Monday's off-day throwing session at Chicago.
In this afternoon's 1:05 start against the Marlins, Glavine (11-5, 2.59) will see if his efforts were successful.
"Obviously, I always look forward to the day that I pitch, but I'm really looking forward to see how things work out," Glavine said. "I feel like I've made some corrections and I'm anxious to see how they incorporate into the game."
As for the blister on the index finger of pitching hand, Glavine said the injury is no longer an issue.
"It's fine, the time off from the All-Star game was really all it needed," he said. "I feel as fine as I have all year."
SHORT HOPS: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Gary Sheffield's streak of reaching base in 42-straight games is not a Braves record after all.
Further review discovered a 48-game streak by Dale Murphy (May 6-June 28, 1987) and Elias is still searching to determine if that is the Atlanta record or not. ... With Rafael Furcal's run in Tuesday's game, the Braves are 28-3 in games when he scores. ... The 16 strikeouts posted by Millwood, Mike Remlinger and John Smoltz, against the Cubs set an Atlanta record for the most in a nine-inning game.
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