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Mike Minor Shelled by Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves Finish Road Trip at .500

June 25th, 2012 at 12:15 AM
By Cody Fields

It may be time for the Atlanta Braves to make a move with their starting rotation, as Mike Minor was shelled for seven runs by the Boston Red Sox in the 9-4 loss on Sunday to end the road trip.

Minor gave up three home runs, good for 18 on the year, over 4 2/3 innings.

"I feel like I'm learning," Minor said. "This is my first year being up with the team the whole time. It would obviously be a disappointment if they took me out of the rotation, but if they did, I'll do what I've always done, work hard and try to get back up there."

The Red Sox only managed two singles through the first three innings off Minor, but he walked the first two batters he faced in the fourth before Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez hit back-to-back homers to give Boston a 4-0 lead.

An error by Andrelton Simmons proved costly when he made a bad throw on a Kelly Shoppach groundball. Will Middlebrooks hit a sacrifice fly on what should have been the third out, and Ross followed with his second home run.

"We've got to cover it up," Fredi Gonzalez said. "As a pitching staff or as a pitcher, we've got to cover that up. Nobody is going to go out there without making mistakes."

The nightmarish fifth inning was made worse by the fact that Atlanta had trimmed the deficit to one run in the top of the fifth inning. Jason Heyward and Simmons each singled to start the inning, and Eric Hinske drove them in with a triple to Fenway Park's Bermuda Triangle in center. One batter later, Juan Francisco grounded to Aaron Cook, who had Hinske dead to rights at third, but he threw the ball into the stands to score Hinske.

The only other run the Braves would score would be via a homer by Heyward, who finished a triple short of the cycle.

Minor has given up 17 of his 18 home runs in his last 10 starts. Even with two solid starts against the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees, Minor has compiled a 7.45 ERA over those starts.

Gonzalez, frustrated with the sporadic performance of his rotation, emphasized the need for consistency.

"For us to be consistent, we've got to have starting pitching," Gonzalez said. "We've got to go two or three times through the rotation with good outings. We can't go time-and-a-half and then all of the sudden have one starter or two starters giving you three innings or something like that. Somehow, someway we've got to get over the hump there. I keep saying the 'young pitcher' phrase, but we've got to get him over the hump somehow. The young man is pretty talented and a pretty competitive guy."

The Braves finish their road trip at 3-3, though they very well could have finished 4-2 or even 5-1 since they scored four runs in every game with Boston.

Atlanta mercifully gets a day off before starting a series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the beginning of a 10-game home stand.

Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Cody Ross, Jason Heyward, Mike Minor, MLB

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