|San Francisco (67-58)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||0|
|Atlanta (73-52) «||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||x||1||6||0|
Instead, it was Lincecum who cracked.
"He's obviously the better pitcher," Minor said. "It's a big win."
The left-hander pitched brilliantly, allowing just four hits and one intentional walk while striking out a season-high nine. Only two runners got as far as second base against Minor (3-2), who didn't flinch when Cody Ross led off the game with a double.
|More on Giants at Braves|
"Instead of giving in, I tried to bear down," Minor said. "I knew if he scored, that would be a big run."
Lincecum (11-10) was no slouch, surrendering five hits in seven innings with seven Ks. But the wiry right-hander made one pitch he wanted back, serving up a high fastball to Jones leading off the fifth. He sent a drive soaring into the right-field seats for 11th homer, giving the Braves all the offense they would need.
"You know you're not going to hit too many homers off Lincecum," Jones said. "He made one mistake, and that's all we needed."
Lincecum was trying to go inside with the pitch, but it faded back over the plate.
"Chipper's a great hitter," the Giants starter said. "I gave up that one timely home run. That cost me."
Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel closed out the five-hitter with one inning apiece. Kimbrel struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 37th save in 42 chances, breaking a tie with Todd Worrell for the most saves by an NL rookie since 1969.
Worrell had 36 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986. Kimbrel is closing in on the major league mark for rookies, set just last season by Texas closer Neftali Feliz with 40.
Kimbrel has not allowed a run in his last 28 appearances, covering 28 2/3 innings. Over that span, he's given up a mere nine hits and eight walks, with a staggering 48 strikeouts.
"I'm glad I don't have to face anybody in our bullpen," Jones said.
The four-game set was similar in style to the thrilling NL division series between the teams last fall. San Francisco knocked off the Braves 3-1 in the playoffs, with every game decided by one run. This time, Atlanta took three of four, the games decided by a total of five runs.
The Giants had to use a makeshift lineup because of injuries, while the Braves showed off some of their impressive young pitching talent. Randall Delgado threw six-plus innings of one-hit ball on Tuesday before heading back to the minors. Another rookie, Arodys Vizcaino, picked up his first big league win in that game. Minor finished the series with another strong effort.
"It's almost embarrassing how many young pitchers who can help this club we have at the minor league level," Jones said.
The Braves won six of seven against San Francisco this season. Atlanta's latest win stretched its lead in the NL wild-card race to six games over the Giants, who came in 2 ½ games behind Arizona in the NL West.
"We might face these guys later on," Jones said, referring to the playoffs. "Every mental edge we can get is helpful."
Atlanta wasted a chance against Lincecum in the fourth. Michael Bourn led off with a single and raced around to third on Brian McCann's one-out double into the right-field corner. But Dan Uggla struck out swinging and Freddie Freeman grounded out.
Freeman came up with a brilliant defensive play in the fourth, sprawling out on the rolled-up tarp to make a great diving catch on Aubrey Huff's foul popup.
"We've just got to find our luck," Lincecum said. "We've got to find it soon."
|Mike Minor strikes out nine over six strong innings to help the Braves blank the Giants. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|San Francisco Giants|
|Cody Ross, LF||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.242|
|Orlando Cabrera, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.240|
|Pablo Sandoval, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.307|
|Aubrey Huff, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.245|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.239|
|Nate Schierholtz, RF||3||0||2||0||0||1||0||.283|
|Aaron Rowand, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.239|
|Chris Stewart, C||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.212|
|Tim Lincecum, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.087|
|a- Mark DeRosa, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.167|
|Ramon Ramirez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Lincecum in the 8th|
|2B - Cody Ross (19, Minor)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Stewart-Tejada, Cabrera-Tejada-Huff|
|San Francisco Giants|
|Tim Lincecum (L,11-10)||7||5||1||1||2||7||1||2.53|
|IBB - Heyward by Tim Lincecum, McCann by Ramon Ramirez|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tim Lincecum 101-63, Ramon Ramirez 15-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Lincecum 5-7, Ramon Ramirez 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Tim Lincecum 26, Ramon Ramirez 5|
|Michael Bourn, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.301|
|Martin Prado, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.272|
|Craig Kimbrel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brian McCann, C||3||0||1||0||1||2||0||.301|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||2||4||.230|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.293|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.271|
|Jason Heyward, RF||2||0||1||0||1||0||0||.220|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.231|
|Mike Minor, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.176|
|Eric O'Flaherty, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jonny Venters, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Jose Constanza, PH-LF||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.394|
|a-singled for Venters in the 8th|
|2B - Brian McCann (16, Lincecum), Chipper Jones (26, Lincecum)|
|HR - Chipper Jones (11, Lincecum)|
|RBI - Chipper Jones (55)|
|SB - Jose Constanza (6, 2nd base off Ramirez/Stewart)|
|CS - Dan Uggla (3, 2nd base by Lincecum/Stewart)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Uggla-A. Gonzalez-Freeman|
|Mike Minor (W,3-2)||6||4||0||0||1||9||0||4.26|
|Eric O'Flaherty (H,22)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.29|
|Jonny Venters (H,25)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.15|
|Craig Kimbrel (S,37)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.78|
|IBB - Stewart by Mike Minor|
|WP - Mike Minor (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 98-65, Eric O'Flaherty 15-11, Jonny Venters 12-7, Craig Kimbrel 14-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 3-4, Eric O'Flaherty 1-1, Jonny Venters 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Mike Minor 21, Eric O'Flaherty 4, Jonny Venters 3, Craig Kimbrel 3|
|Attendance - 30720|
|Game Time - 2:30|
|Temperature - 89|
|Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Joe West, Second Base - Chris Conroy, Third Base - Paul Schrieber|