Atlanta, GA – Mike Minor led the way with his arm and his bat for the Atlanta Braves in their 5-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the third tilt of a four-game series.
Minor (9-4) appeared to be in trouble early in the game when he gave up two runs in the second inning. He conceded only one hit after those two runs in seven innings of work. Minor struck out seven, while walking just one batter.
The left-hander also went 1-for-2 with a double that knocked in two runs during the bottom of the fifth inning.
Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey (5-8) struck out seven over six innings of work, but gave up four runs on 10 hits and a walk to absorb the loss.
"It's just one of those days, it seems like I've had a lot of one of those days," said Bailey on his second consecutive loss.
Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-4 and knocked in a run for the Reds, who have lost five of their last seven games. Choo's single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 26th save of the season.
The Reds threatened early by loading the bases in the first against Minor. He escaped damage by striking out Jay Bruce and forcing Todd Frazier to line out to third to end the inning.
Zack Cozart opened up the second inning by hitting a triple and was brought home on the next play by Corky Miller on a groundout. Chris Heisey doubled off of the left-field wall. Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker came out to ask for a review, but the ball hit the yellow line and was not deemed a home run. Choo then singled to score Heisey to put the Reds up 2-0.
Atlanta catcher Brian McCann hit a towering home run to right in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit down to one. The scoring continued for Atlanta in the fifth. After a Reed Johnson single and Joey Terdoslavich double, Minor knocked them in with a double down the third-base line to allow Atlanta to take the lead.
After singles from Chris Johnson and Terdoslavich, Jose Constanza drove in Johnson on a single to left field in the sixth inning.
Manny Parra, who appeared in relief for Bailey, struck out the only two batters he faced before he was lifted for Alfredo Simon in the bottom of the seventh. Dan Uggla welcomed Simon into the game with a solo shot to left field and extend Atlanta's lead to three runs.
"We came out to play to win whether we are nine games up or nine games out. That's just the competitive nature of athletes. That's what we are gonna do, we are trying to extend our lead into the end of the season," said Uggla on Atlanta's play.
Prior to the game, the Braves recalled Constanza to start in the injury-ridden outfield. He served as the leadoff hitter and ended up hitting 3-for-4 on the day with one RBI.
Saturday's game was just the second game this season in which none of the starting outfielders were in the lineup for the Braves. The last time was Minor's start against the Reds on May 8th.