ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Minor pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning to give Atlanta’s rotation a lift and the Braves survived a ninth-inning scare to beat Shaun Marcum and the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.
Craig Kimbrel pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, striking out pinch-hitter George Kottaras and Mat Gamel for his fourth save.
Minor (1-1) recorded 18 consecutive outs after hitting Corey Hart with a pitch to open the second inning. The left-hander did not allow an earned run in 7 1-3 innings, becoming the first Braves starter this season to get an out after the fifth. He struck out four and walked one in the longest start of his career.
The Braves have won four straight after losing their first four games. Milwaukee has lost three straight.
Juan Francisco had a run-scoring double in the Braves’ two-run second inning.
With one out in the ninth, Kimbrel walked Ryan Braun, who moved to second on a single by Aramis Ramirez. Hart walked to load the bases.
Marcum (1-1) gave up three hits and two runs in seven innings. He was hurt by Braun’s throwing error in the second.
Jonny Venters replaced Minor, who left with a 2-0 lead after Jonathan Lucroy hit a one-out double in the eighth. Gamel hit a bloop single off the glove of a diving Jason Heyward in right field as Lucroy advanced to third. Cesar Izturis then hit a grounder to Venters, who threw out Lucroy at the plate.
Pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki followed with an infield single to second baseman Dan Uggla, who threw wildly to first base for an error that allowed Gamel to score from second, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 2-1. Venters struck out Rickie Weeks to end the inning.
Minor, who was 5-3 in 15 starts as a rookie in 2011, was dominant after giving up six runs in five innings of a 7-5 loss at the New York Mets on Sunday.
Minor was shaky in the first inning when Weeks walked and moved to second on a single by Carlos Gomez. Minor struck out Braun and ended the inning when Ramirez hit into a double play.
Brian McCann led off the second inning with a walk. With Milwaukee’s infield in a shift that placed shortstop Izturis near second base, the left-handed hitting Heyward punched a slow grounder through the middle of the left side of the infield. As Braun ran in from left field to grab the grounder, McCann hustled toward third and scored when Braun’s throw bounced past Ramirez at third base.
Heyward moved to third on Braun’s throwing error and scored when Francisco doubled to right-center.
Francisco started for Chipper Jones, who was held out for the second straight game after having his surgically repaired left knee drained on Friday. Jones said he hopes to start on Sunday.
Jones missed the first four games of the season after having arthroscopic surgery on the knee during spring training. He homered in his first game back on Tuesday night in Houston. He added two hits on Wednesday night but had swelling in the knee after the team’s flight back to Atlanta.
NOTES: The Braves unveiled their throwback uniforms from the start of their Atlanta era in 1966. They will wear the cream-tinted uniforms for home weekend games. Their caps — blue with a red bill and white “A” — have not changed. … Izturis started for Alex Gonzalez, who was placed on paternity leave as he returned to Florida for the birth of his third child. INF Eric Farris was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. Gonzalez is expected to rejoin the team Tuesday in Milwaukee, following an off day on Monday. … Minor lasted seven innings against Toronto on June 21, 2011, in his previous longest start.
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