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MLB: Craig Kimbrel Sets First Half Save Record

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The 23-year-old Atlanta Braves closer set the record for most saves by a rookie before the All-Star break by picking up his 27th on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies, besting the mark Jonathan Papelbon established in 2006 with the Red Sox.

Kimbrel has now converted 27 of 32 save opportunities this season, and his perfect inning of work Thursday also gave him the Major League lead. San Diego Padres’ Heath Bell has 26 saves.

The Philadelphia Phillies and their three All-Star Pitchers Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels have been getting all the press this year and deservedly so. At 55-33 (.625) they have the best record in MLB. It is the Braves however that is the team with the best pitching in MLB boasting a stingy team ERA of only 3.02.

With solid starting pitching and All-Star Jonny Venters setting up Kimbrel, the Braves are now only 2 ½ games behind the Phillies for first place in the NL East and have a comfortable 5 game lead in the NL Wild Card race.

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