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Minor (5-6) held the Cubs without a hit until the fifth and gave up three runs, two earned, and three hits in 6 1/3 innings overall. The left-hander has won back-to-back starts after losing two straight.
"He made his pitches when he needed to," McCann said.
Minor entered with an ugly 6.20 ERA after giving up four runs in each of his previous three starts, putting his rotation spot in jeopardy.
"Every week I'm trying to get better," Minor said.
Due to Minor's struggles, manager Fredi Gonzalez was asked before the game if he needed a good start to protect his place in the rotation. Gonzalez said "every start is important" but said Thursday night's game wasn't especially crucial for Minor.
Gonzalez said after the game Minor should "go into the All-Star break feeling good about himself."
Garza (4-7), who could be one of the top starters on the market ahead of this month's trade deadline, allowed five runs and five hits in four innings. He struck out six and walked three while throwing 94 pitches.
Garza struck out Michael Bourn in the first, but the inning quickly unraveled from there.
Martin Prado hit a one-out single before Heyward drove a 1-2 pitch over the wall in right for his 14th home run. Freeman then singled to right and McCann sent another 1-2 offering over the wall in right for his 10th of the season.
Francisco ended the inning with a 16-pitch at-bat, fouling off pitch after pitch until he finally hit a bouncer to first base.
"A couple pitches hit out of the ballpark and then the 16-pitch at-bat to Francisco kind of killed the whole outing, really," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Garza threw 44 pitches in the inning.
"I don't think he ever recovered from it," Gonzalez said.
Francisco added another long at-bat in the fourth. He made Garza throw 12 pitches before taking a walk.
"Two at-bats. We kind of got tired of him," Sveum said of Francisco. "Move on to the next guy."
Garza downplayed the effect of Francisco's long at-bats on his short night.
"That's just an at-bat," Garza said. "That's all it is. He battled, I battled. I won the first one, he won the second one. That's all it is."
Freeman had a solo shot in the third and Francisco went deep in the eighth against Manny Corpas.
Atlanta went 5-5 on its longest homestand of the season.
The Cubs' first hit off Minor was a home run by Geovany Soto with one out in the fifth.
"I wasn't really all that worried about the home run," Minor said. "I was trying to throw strikes. McCann set up in the middle and [Soto] hit it."
The Braves answered Soto's shot with a run off Scott Maine in the bottom half. Prado singled, moved to third on Heyward's single and scored on McCann's fly ball to right field.
Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson delivered a two-out RBI single and Heyward made a wild throw to third base for an error, allowing Soriano to score.
There is new reason for Minor, Randall Delgado and perhaps other Atlanta starting pitchers to be wary. The Braves recently signed four-time All-Star Ben Sheets, who had mixed results for Double-A Mississippi in his first minor league start on Wednesday night. He gave up four runs in five innings but retired the last 10 batters he faced.
|Jason Heyward (left) connects for a two-run HR in the first inning to help the Braves open up an early 4-0 lead vs. the Cubs. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|David DeJesus, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.272|
|Starlin Castro, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.287|
|Anthony Rizzo, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||1||0||.314|
|Alfonso Soriano, LF||3||1||0||0||1||2||0||.266|
|Bryan LaHair, RF||3||0||0||0||1||3||2||.289|
|Geovany Soto, C||3||1||1||1||0||0||3||.167|
|Darwin Barney, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.262|
|Scott Maine, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Reed Johnson, PH||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.283|
|Manny Corpas, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Luis Valbuena, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.206|
|Matt Garza, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.074|
|Jeff Baker, 2B||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.253|
|a-singled for Maine in the 7th|
|HR - Geovany Soto (6, Minor)|
|RBI - Geovany Soto (10), Reed Johnson (12)|
|2-OUT RBI - Reed Johnson (5)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|DP - Barney-Rizzo|
|E - Bryan LaHair (4, Misplayed grounder)|
|Matt Garza (L,4-7)||4||5||5||5||3||6||3||4.32|
|Pitches-Strikes - Matt Garza 94-65, Scott Maine 39-25, Manny Corpas 24-18|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Garza 2-3, Scott Maine 1-1, Manny Corpas 4-1|
|Batters Faced - Matt Garza 19, Scott Maine 10, Manny Corpas 8|
|Michael Bourn, CF||3||0||0||0||2||2||1||.307|
|Martin Prado, LF||4||2||2||0||0||1||3||.325|
|Jason Heyward, RF||4||1||2||2||0||1||0||.273|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||4||2||2||1||0||1||2||.259|
|Brian McCann, C||3||1||2||3||0||1||0||.230|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||3||2||.225|
|Andrelton Simmons, SS||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.302|
|Juan Francisco, 3B||3||1||1||1||1||0||1||.226|
|Mike Minor, P||2||0||0||0||1||1||1||.037|
|Kris Medlen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Eric O'Flaherty, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Eric Hinske, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.204|
|Craig Kimbrel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for O'Flaherty in the 8th|
|HR - Jason Heyward (14, Garza), Freddie Freeman (11, Garza), Brian McCann (10, Garza), Juan Francisco (6, Corpas)|
|SF - Brian McCann (2)|
|RBI - Jason Heyward 2 (41), Freddie Freeman (48), Brian McCann 3 (38), Juan Francisco (18)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Francisco-Uggla-Freeman, Simmons-Uggla-Freeman|
|E - Jason Heyward (3, Throwing)|
|Mike Minor (W,5-6)||6.1||3||3||2||2||6||1||5.97|
|Eric O'Flaherty (H,14)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.07|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 101-58, Kris Medlen 9-6, Eric O'Flaherty 10-7, Craig Kimbrel 12-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 4-8, Kris Medlen 1-1, Eric O'Flaherty 1-0, Craig Kimbrel 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Mike Minor 23, Kris Medlen 3, Eric O'Flaherty 3, Craig Kimbrel 3|
|Attendance - 24408|
|Game Time - 2:50|
|Temperature - 96|
|Umpires - Home - James Hoye, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Jim Reynolds|