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Atlanta Braves Back Mike Minor with Four Homers, Split Series with Chicago Cubs

July 6th, 2012 at 8:34 AM
By Cody Fields

The Atlanta Braves teed off for four home runs off the Chicago Cubs to back a strong start by Mike Minor on Thursday. The 7-3 win at Turner Field salvaged a split in the four-game series.

Minor held the Cubs hitless through 4 1/3 innings, only losing the no-hit bid and shutout when Geovany Soto hit a solo homer in the fifth.

With a five-run lead provided by the offense, Minor was able to pitch aggressively, striking out six and only walking one. Minor won his second straight start with 6 1/3 innings and three runs (two earned).

"I think this is his second outing that was pretty decent for him," Fredi Gonzalez said. "He goes into the break feeling good about himself and maybe come out the other end with some momentum."

The Braves offense provided a lead for Minor from the first inning when Martin Prado extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and Jason Heyward belted his 14th homer of the season. Freddie Freeman kept things going with a single, which Brian McCann followed with his first homer since June 15 to extend the lead to 4-0.

Atlanta forced Cubs starter Matt Garza to throw 44 pitches in the first inning, thanks in part to an at-bat by Juan Francisco that resulted in a groundout but took 16 pitches to complete.

"I don't think [Garza] ever recovered from that," Gonzalez said.

Garza would need 94 pitches to get through four innings in the losing attempt.

McCann would tack on his third RBI with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, and Francisco hit his sixth homer of the year in the eighth inning.

Minor would exit in the seventh after striking out Bryan LaHair, but not before he allowed the first two batters to reach, resulting in Gonzalez bringing in Kris Medlen. Medlen initially got Soto to fly out for the second out of the inning, but allowed both of his inherited runners to score on a Reed Johnson single to Heyward. Minor's unearned run would score on the play when Heyward tried to throw out Alfonso Soriano advancing to third base, resulting in a throwing error.

The win ends Atlanta's homestand at 5-5, and the club now heads to Philadelphia for a three-game series with a reeling Phillies club that has lost seven of their last eight ballgames.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Brian McCann, Chicago Cubs, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Juan Francisco, Kris Medlen, Martin Prado, Matt Garza, Mike Minor, MLB

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