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Braves' Craig Kimbrel Breaks John Smoltz's Franchise Saves Record

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 06:  Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Atlanta Braves delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 6, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. Braves won 5-2. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images
Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffJune 7, 2014

Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel earned his 155th career save in Friday's 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, breaking John Smoltz's all-time franchise saves record, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Kimbrel entered the game with two outs in the eight inning and his team holding a 3-2 lead. He struck out Arizona's Martin Prado to end the frame, then tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning after his teammates tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top half of the ninth.

The flawless performance was what fans have come to expect from the flame-throwing right-hander, as he's been a dominant force since entering the league in 2010. Kimbrel struck out 40 batters in just 20.2 innings during his debut season, then was installed as the Braves' closer for the beginning of 2011.

He has converted 154 of his 171 save opportunities (90.1 percent) over the last three-plus seasons, accounting for three of the top six single-season save totals in franchise history. His 50 saves last season were second-best in Braves history, behind Smoltz's 55 in 2002. Between the two of them, Smoltz and Kimbrel are responsible for each of the six highest single-season save figures from a Brave.

Still only 26 years old, Kimbrel looks as good as ever this season, and he's on pace for 44 saves. The gap between him and Smoltz will only continue to grow as Kimbrel seeks a franchise-record fourth consecutive 40-save campaign.

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