It is not often that one can say giving up four home runs is improvement over his previous outing, but Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike MInor gave up the fewest runs in nearly a month in the Braves' 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds Monday night.
Minor served up four solo home runs, including three consecutive in the fourth inning. In his nine starts, Minor has now given up 12 longballs and has given up multiple home runs in four of his last five starts.
Although Minor pitched somewhat better than in previous starts, Drew Stubbs homered in the first inning. Minor would walk Joey Votto and Jay Bruce but would strand them both and strand the bases loaded in the second.
After retiring the Reds in order in the third inning, Minor made mistakes up the zone to three straight batters that proved fatal.
With two outs, Minor gave up back-to-back-to-back homers to pitcher Mike Leake, Zack Cozart and Stubbs. Leake's homer helped out his own cause and was the first of his career. Fredi Gonzalez ran Minor back out in the fifth and sixth innings, and Minor sat down the final seven batters he faced.
Even with all the dingers, it was the fewest runs Minor has given up since a no decision on April 24 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Braves offense did little in support of Minor, recording only two hits and four total baserunners on Leake during his eight innings, who enetered with an 0-5 record and ERA of 6.21.
Dan Uggla and Brian McCann walked with two outs in the ninth inning to bring Jason Heyward to the plate as the potential tying run, but Heyward flied out to right field to end the game.
Even though the Braves rank fourth in baseball in runs scored, they have only scored five runs in their last three games and recorded a season low two hits.
The Braves will look to Brandon Beachy to even the series against Matt Latos at 7:10 on Tuesday.
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