Mike Minor Makes Major Effort in Braves Win over Mets

By Howard Goldin

On Thursday night, Atlanta starting pitcher Mike Minor recorded the 94th “quality start” [a quality start is defined as lasting at least six innings with three or less earned runs given up] for the Braves in the 2014 campaign. The Braves lead the majors in that important category. The pitching was a crucial factor in the 6-1 win for the Braves. When the contest concluded the Braves trailed the San Francisco Giants by only one game for the second Wild Card spot in the National League.

In his last start before Thursday, Minor took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning. Thursday, the 26 year-old retired the first 12 Mets batters, fanning five,before yielding a single to Lucas Duda, the lead-off batter in the fifth.

The former pitcher for Vanderbilt University, one of six alums of the college in Tennessee currently pitching in the big leagues, retired the next six batters before giving up an infield single to the lead-off hitter in the seventh, Curtis Granderson.

Travis d’Arnaud doubled to begin the eighth frame and was plated by a single off the bat of Eric Campbell. That run was the only one scored by the Mets as they were blanked by Atlanta relievers David Carpenter and Anthony Varvaro in the final two innings.

Minor, a first round draft choice of Atlanta in 2009, was pleased with his most recent efforts this season, “[It was] the same game plan as last time. I tried to mix it up. I feel like I’ve turned the corner with pitches and attacking the hitters.”

Fredi Gonzalez, the manager of the Braves, expressed pleasure with Minor’s development as of late, ”He’s been solid four times [the last four starts]. I like the way he uses all his pitches. He’s progressing in the right direction.”

In addition to his impressive performance on the mound, the left-hander contributed greatly to the victory at the plate. He drove in the first run of the contest with a single in the second. He doubled to begin the seventh and scored Atlanta’s winning run on a triple by Emilio Bonifacio.

Gonzalez happily recognized his success during the game, “He was everything. He not only pitched well, he was our offense for six innings.”

Minor laughingly said to reporters, “I was having a really good time until I was taken out.”

The victory was not a one-man effort. Bonifacio, who was traded to the Braves at the start of August, batted four for five with two runs batted in to raise his average to .300 (18 for 60) since joining the Braves. He has also shown his versatility by starting in four different positions.

A two-run pinch hit homer by Ryan Doumit in the ninth put the game out of reach of the Mets. The hit was Doumit’s 11th as a pinch hitter this year and his fifth career pinch-hit home run.