Sometimes, when a pitcher knows he's hot, he will tell his teammates, "Just give me one." Mike Minor got the only run he needed from Chipper Jones as the Atlanta Braves won the final game and the four-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
"You're not going to hit too many homers off Lincecum," Jones said. "One mistake is all we needed. It was just a great ballgame tonight. It was probably the most fun I've had on the field this year."
Minor pieced together one of the best starts of his young career. He went six innings and allowed four hits and struck out nine. He also faced only three batters over the minimum and at one point retired nine straight Giants batters.
"It was definitely my best outing all year long, whether it’s Triple-A or here," Minor said. "The defense was also good tonight, and Mac putting down the signs — I think I only shook [him off] one time. We really clicked on that."
He also had some help from his defense. With two outs in the third inning, Minor got Pablo Sandoval to pop a pitch foul into the seats, but Freddie Freeman fully extended over the tarp to make the grab for the third out of the inning.
Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters did their usual setup routines of scoreless pitching, which Craig Kimbrel followed with a perfect ninth. He struck out Sandoval and Aubrey Huff to clinch his 37th save.
The Braves kept pace with the Philadelphia Phillies, who beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, and remain 8.5 games back. The win also boosted Atlanta's Wild Card lead to six games over the Giants and 6.5 games over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Braves start a three-game series with the NL West-leading Diamondbacks Friday at 7:35 EDT. Derek Lowe (7-11, 4.89 ERA) will look to get back on track against Daniel Hudson (12-8, 3.76 ERA).
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