The Atlanta Braves can secure home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs on a night Mike Minor hopes to end a month-long winless drought when he faces the Philadelphia Phillies.
With two games remaining, the Braves enter Saturday tied with St. Louis for the best record in the NL. Atlanta holds the tiebreaker against the Cardinals.
Minor is 0-3 in his last five starts and hasn't won since Aug. 25 at St. Louis. The left-hander is coming off a 5-0 loss against the Brewers on Monday when he allowed eight hits and three runs over seven innings.
Minor is 2-3 with a 3.68 ERA in seven games (6 starts) against the Phillies.
Right-hander Ethan Martin counters for the Phillies. Martin started his career making seven straight starts until being moved to the bullpen earlier this month. He's back in a starting role again for the first time since Sept. 3 against Washington. He's 0-2 versus the Braves in a starting role.
Last night produced a classic pitching duel, and for the second straight evening the Phillies went scoreless. Chris Johnson's go-ahead homer in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Braves to a 1-0 win.
Cliff Lee (14-8) struck out 13 and surrendered just two hits over seven innings before Johnson led off the eighth and smacked a towering shot that reached the front row of seats in left-center.
"Out of respect to the game and my teammates, I got to continue to go out there and play like it means something," Lee said. "I don't know how else to do it."
Craig Kimbrel fanned two in a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his 50th save of the year.
Kris Medlen (15-12), who didn't yield a hit until there were two outs in the fifth when Cesar Hernandez reached base on an infield single down the third base line, allowed two hits and two walks over eight shutout frames. He struck out seven.
"That's the furthest I've ever gone without giving up a hit," Medlen said.
The offensive problems are continuing for the Phillies. They've been blanked 15 times this year, most since 1989. The Phils have scored 19 runs in their last nine games and have not homered in nine straight contests. That's the longest drought since an 11-game streak in 1989.
Atlanta has won six of its last nine contests, while the Phillies have lost eight of their last nine games.
The Phillies did record a three-game sweep of the Braves at home in the last meeting from Sept. 6-8, but have lost six of eight in Atlanta this season.