The lefty's sixth win of the season may have been the most impressive start of his young career; he struck out nine Phillies over his eight innings and sat down the final 13 batters he faced. In his last couple of starts, Minor has shown confidence that wasn't there before, and his teammates are backing him up for it.
"He's getting better and better," Brian McCann said. "I think he's a guy we're going to rely on down the stretch to win some big ballgames. I think tonight was one of his first steps toward doing that."
Over Minor's career high eight innings, he gave up one run on just four hits to a scuffling Phillies club. The only run Minor gave up came off a Chase Utley solo homer in the fourth. The only other Phillies player to reach second was Erik Kratz when he doubled in the third.
Minor also issued no walks, meaning he didn't have to fret over having runners on base when Utley his his bomb.
The Braves offense gave Minor just enough support early. After singles by Martin Prado and Jason Heyward in the first, Chipper Jones drove in Prado on a sacrifice fly. With Michael Bourn on second base in the third, Heyward hit a sharp grounder to Utley, but Utley's sliding attempt popped the ball in the air to allow Bourn to score on the infield hit. Those two runs made Joe Blanton the hard luck loser.
Minor entered July with a 6.20 ERA and not many fans, but his last four starts have lowered that to 5.18.
"I think it got to the point where instead of feeling sorry for myself, I was more [ticked] off and I wanted to do something about it," Minor said. "I went to some of the guys and talked to them and talked to [pitching coach Roger McDowell] and the catchers. They pointed out all of my flaws with what I do out there. I just took it and worked off of it instead of not facing it."
The Braves kept pace with the victorious Washington Nationals and still trail them by four games in the NL East.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Chipper Jones, Jason Heyward, Mike Minor, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies