Atlanta, GA – Mike Minor threw seven stellar innings to help the Atlanta Braves defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-1, in the opener of a three-game series between division leaders at Turner Field.
Minor (10-5) allowed just one run on four hits without issuing a walk and striking out five. Craig Kimbrel worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to collect his 29th save of the year.
"Minor was on his game tonight, he's hard to hit when he is," said Braves left fielder Evan Gattis.
Jason Heyward had a solo home run, his eighth of the year. Chris Johnson went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Minor helped his own cause by driving in a run for the NL East leaders.
Despite a solid outing, Adam Wainwright (13-6) will need to wait another day to notch his 14th victory. He yielded four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits while fanning eight over seven frames. It was Wainwright's second road loss in 13 starts this season, with his only other road defeat coming in the season-opener at Arizona.
"I think I just have to tip my hat, they had a great approach tonight," said Wainwright. "I had pretty good stuff tonight, sometimes you just get beat."
Yadier Molina blasted his eighth homer of the year, accounting for the lone run of the game for the Cardinals, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. They lead the NL Central by 2 1/2 games over Pittsburgh.
After going down 1-0 in the second, the Braves answered in the home half. Brian McCann doubled to right, then Dan Uggla and Johnson connected on back- to-back base hits, respectively, to left to tie the game. After a force out at second, Minor helped himself with an RBI single to left to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
The Cardinals had a chance to tie the game in the third after a leadoff double by Pete Kozma. Minor worked around a sacrifice bunt to strand Kozma at third.
Heyward doubled the lead in the fifth when he delivered an opposite-field homer.
After a Johnson single in the seventh, pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich hit a chopper to shortstop Kozma, whose throw to second was low and rolled all the way to the seats behind first base which allowed Johnson to score and Terdoslavich to reach third.
The Cardinals' lone run came in the second when Molina crushed a first pitch changeup into the seats in center field.
Molina's homer ended a stretch of 50 innings without one by the Cardinals ... Atlanta went 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position, while St. Louis finished 0-for-4 ... In his fifth appearance at Turner Field, it is Wainwright's first career loss there ... Cardinals pitcher John Gast underwent surgery on his left shoulder Friday. His anticipated return to pitching is 8-12 months.