Mike Minor Impressive In Braves 4-1 Win Over Cardinals Friday

Saturday, July 27, 2013
Mike Minor
Mike Minor
- photo by Tim Evearitt

ATLANTA -- In front of a sold out Turner Field crowd, Mike Minor tightened his grip on the title of Atlanta's de facto No. 1 starter by allowing less than four runs for a fourth consecutive outing, and the Braves held on to an early lead to take Friday night's series opener, 4-1, in a battle of first-place teams.

Atlanta leads the National League East Division by 8 1/2 games over Washington and 9 games over Philadelphia. The NY Mets trail by 10 1/2 games.

The Braves are still evaluating how their starting rotation will look without Tim Hudson to serve as a steadying presence down the stretch, but Minor's dominant performance on Friday night may have provided some clarity. 

Given the electric venue, the Braves' injury-riddled week and the quality of opponent, Minor's performance had the makings of a coronation, the team's big-game pitcher of the future rising to the moment in the wake of a demoralizing injury to one of the longest-tenured and most well-liked Braves of the past decade.

Minor's RBI single off St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright gave the Braves the lead for good in the second inning, and he turned in his third straight outing of seven innings or longer to help that slim lead stand up. Minor allowed one run on four hits over seven innings to pick up his 10th victory of the season.

St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina capitalized on one of Minor's early mistakes, ripping the first pitch he saw, a belt-high change-up, out to center field for his eighth home run of the year to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

Brian McCann got things started for the Braves in the bottom half of the inning with a double to right field and came around to score on Chris Johnson's RBI single into left. Johnson has recorded a hit in all but two of his 21 games played in July, and his 2-for-3 night on Friday raised his batting average to .345 this month.

Then Minor swung at the first pitch he saw from Wainwright and found a hole in the left side to record his fifth RBI this season. While Minor proceeded to turn the screws on the St. Louis offense, retiring 10 straight batters at one point, Jason Heyward made it a 3-1 game with an opposite-field solo shot in the fifth inning, his first home run since July 6.

Heyward made his defensive presence felt in his first game back in right field with a handful of hard-charging catches, including a diving snag of a line drive off the bat of David Freese in the fifth inning.

The Braves padded their lead in the seventh thanks to a rare error from the team that has committed the fewest in the National League. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma threw a potential double-play ball low and wide of Matt Carpenter at second base, and the ball bounced into right field and rolled all the way to foul territory, allowing Johnson to score from first easily.

Minor now leads the Atlanta rotation in innings pitched, ERA, fewest hits allowed, strikeouts and wins. His most recent gem came against a potential playoff opponent that sent its Cy Young candidate to the mound on Friday night and proved quite the confidence boost for the banged-up Braves, who have yet to win consecutive games since the All-Star break. Still, the Braves will hold off on the superlatives with the hope that Minor's best is yet to come in the second half.

--- Source: MLB.com



Chip Brindle Wins At Fort Payne Speedway

Chip Brindle of Dalton/Chatsworth, Georgia won his third United Crate Racing Alliance main event of the season,  Saturday  night at Fort Payne (AL) Motor Speedway. Turning back local favorite Kasey Hall of Geraldine, "Chipper" won the $2,500/40-lap feature race, while halting Hall's two-race series win streak.   Brindle in his  Team 17/Hill ... (click for more)

Smokies Snap Losing Streak Saturday With 6-4 Win Over Lookouts

KODAK, Tenn.  -- Charcer Burks, Andrew Ely and Daniel Spingola each had three hits, as the Tennessee Smokies beat the Chattanooga Lookouts 6-4 on Saturday. Chattanooga's loss and Montgomery's win Saturday gives the Lookouts a six game lead, and the magic number to clinch the second-half title remains at 11 games. Lookouts starter Fernando Romero (11-8) took the loss after ... (click for more)

Deborah Cox Of Graysville Dies After Wreck On Jones Gap Road

One person who was in critical condition after a wreck on Jones Gap Road has died. The victim was identified as Deborah Cox, of Graysville, Tn.  Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies, along with HCEMS and fire personnel, worked the accident near the 13,300 block of Jones Gap Road. Due to the crash, north and southbound Jones Gap Road were closed for a lengthy ... (click for more)

Excitement Builds As Tennessee Valley Prepares For Monday's Eclipse

Sandra Nicholson, director of the Edu-Care Daycare Center on Signal Mountain, is as ready for  Monday’s  historic solar eclipse as she’s ever going to be. It took some doing, she said, but she has finally enough pairs of NASA-certified solar safety glasses for everyone in her family.  She’s just one of the tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley area residents ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (18)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Berke Plan To Solve Discrimination Is To Kick Dead Veterans To The Curb

Racism and discrimination is wrong. What is the best way for a parent to teach a child the evils of discrimination? Should the parent demonstrate and repetitively incentivize the proper behavior? Or, would it be more productive to badger the child over and over again for the sins of the child's g-g-g-grandfather who died 150 years ago? Would burning the personal effects of the grandfather ... (click for more)