Charlie Morton remembers watching Jair Jurrjens pitch while the two were teammates in Atlanta and marveling at Jurr-jens' stuff.
"He was just dealing when I was there and I was just getting by," Morton said with a laugh.
A few years later, Jurrjens still has the upper hand.
The 25-year-old righthander continued his sparkling spring, pitching six-hit ball into the eighth inning to lead the visiting Braves to a 2-0 win over Morton and the Pittsburgh Pirates last night.
Jurrjens (6-1) struck out four and walked one in 7 innings while dropping his ERA to 1.56. Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect ninth for his 13th save.
"I'm just trying to throw strikes," Jurrjens said. "It's not easy coming from a day off trying to pitch and the position players over there also had a day off, so you're trying to take advantage of that and just throw strikes and make them get themselves out."
The Pirates were only too happy to oblige. Pittsburgh never got a runner to third base while extending its scoreless streak to 19 innings.
Alex Gonzalez had three hits and scored a run for the Braves, who scratched out just enough offense to end Morton's three-game winning streak.
Morton (5-2) continued his bounceback year, giving up seven hits while striking out four and walking three in seven-plus innings.
Yet he couldn't quite match Jurrjens, who has been electric through the season's first 2 months. He had little trouble with the punchless Pirates, needing just 97 pitches - 71 strikes - to send Pittsburgh to its second straight shutout loss.
Jurrjens' control worsened as the game went on. He threw three balls total in the first three innings.
"I looked up and I saw the ball-strike thing and I was like, 'Is that right?' " Morton said. "He's really good at throwing the ball where he wants with all his pitches."
He needed to be sharp to help the ailing Braves.
Atlanta came to town on the last stop of a miserable road trip in which it dropped four out of five and put starting outfielders Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth on the disabled list with injuries.
"Luckily we had JJ going tonight because we haven't been scoring a lot of runs lately," Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "But when you get pitching like that - and our bullpen came in and shut it down - two runs was enough tonight."
In other games:
* At Denver, Joe Saunders snapped a personal six-game losing skid and Kelly Johnson homered and drove in two runs in the Arizona Diamondbacks' 5-2 win over Colorado that earned them a split of their doubleheader.
Saunders (1-5) allowed two runs on six hits over eight innings. He walked four and struck out two and allowed solo homers to Jason Giambi and Ty Wigginton. J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his 13th save in as many chances.
In the first game, Carlos Gonzalez homered twice and the Rockies became the first team to decipher Josh Collmenter's tomahawk-throwing style, rallying past Arizona, 12-4, despite losing pitcher Jorge De La Rosa.
De La Rosa tore a ligament in his pitching elbow and his season appears to be over.
Meanwhile, police say a 27-year-old man was critically injured when he fell from a stairwell leading to the centerfield seats during the first game. Police said the man was hospitalized in critical condition.
* At Milwaukee, Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning and Brandon Boggs collided into catcher Wilson Ramos to score the go-ahead run, rallying the Brewers over the Washington Nationals, 7-6.
Milwaukee has won 12 of its last 15 overall and has its longest winning streak in the 11-year history of Miller Park at eight games, though this one certainly didn't come easily.
Corey Hart homered again a night after smacking three, Lucroy hit another and Rickie Weeks added a two-run shot in the seventh to set up Lucroy's big hit.
In Nationals news, outfielder Rick Ankiel returned from a DL stint with a sore right wrist.
* At Houston, rookie Jerry Sands hit a grand slam in the third inning off J.A. Happ (3-6) and Jay Gibbons also homered as the Los Angeles Dodgers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the Astros.
* At Chicago, Ryan Dempster (3-4) pitched seven effective innings, Starlin Castro had three hits and three RBI and the Cubs pounded the stumbling New York Mets, 11-1.