Filling in for Tom Glavine, James allowed one run in five innings and the Atlanta bullpen shut down the Dodgers the rest of the way for the Braves' third win in a row, 4-1 on Saturday.
Mark Teixeira's two-run single highlighted a four-run fifth that accounted for all the Atlanta scoring and handed James (1-1) the win.
The slender lefty was recalled from Triple-A Richmond on Friday night after Glavine went on the disabled list for the first time in his 22-year career. James caught a 6 a.m. flight from Richmond and landed about eight hours before his first pitch.
"It's been a long time since I went out and threw and felt like I could compete out there and have fun," he said. "It's awesome."
Andruw Jones, the longtime Braves center fielder now playing for the Dodgers, showed signs of breaking out of his slump. He hit a towering drive deep into the left-field seats in the second, his first homer for Los Angeles.
"I saved him so many times last year, that's the one thing he can do for me," Jones quipped.
"Up and in is a dangerous pitch to him," James said, "especially when you don't have a lot on it."
Otherwise, the Braves starter was in command. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out two before giving way to the Braves bullpen. Jorge Campillo pitched two scoreless innings, Blaine Boyer went one and Manny Acosta worked the ninth for his first career save.
James won 11 games each of the past two years for the Braves, but he struggled down the stretch in 2007 and was diagnosed after the season with a partially torn rotator cuff. Brought along carefully during spring training, he started the season on the disabled list before making a quicker-than-expected start at Colorado after Mike Hampton went on the DL.
That one didn't go so well -- James surrendered six runs in three innings of a 12-6 loss. But, after making one start at Richmond, he looked like a much different pitcher.
"Just going down there in kind of a stress-free environment and getting to work on some stuff down there, I feel like I'm definitely on the right track to getting back," he said.