|Atlanta (56-44) «||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||x||2||5||0|
ATLANTA -- Some were ready to give up on Mike Minor when the left-hander gave up six or more runs in four straight starts in April and May.
Suddenly Minor is rewarding the Braves for their patience.
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Minor (6-7) allowed one run on four hits and no walks in eight innings. His nine strikeouts matched his season high. He retired the last 13 batters he faced.
"It takes a little time," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the 24-year-old Minor. "He's not a finished product by any means. He's heading in that direction pretty quickly and right in front of our eyes. Good for him and good for us as an organization and a team to be patient with that guy."
The Phillies' only run came on Chase Utley's homer in the fourth.
Minor showed new-found composure as he refused to be deterred by the homer.
The left-hander called his progress during the season "a complete 180, just in confidence and my demeanor on the mound and not letting things get to me."
"I feel like I've had the confidence, it was just more of executing pitches and not blowing up on myself inside and letting it carry over to the next inning or the next at-bat," Minor said.
Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 30th save. Utley was caught looking at Kimbrel's 99 mph fastball for a strike to end the game.
The Braves, who lost 12 of 18 games to the Phillies in 2011, are 6-2 against Philadelphia with five straight wins in 2012. Atlanta swept a three-game series at Philadelphia on July 6-8 and will try to complete another three-game sweep on Sunday.
Minor made his longest start since lasting eight innings in a win at Arizona on April 19. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his four starts in July and has won three of his last four decisions.
"He's getting better and better and I think he's a guy we're going to rely on down the stretch here to win us some big ballgames," said catcher Brian McCann. "Tonight was one of the steps of doing that."
While Minor is gaining momentum, two straight losses to the Braves could affect plans for the last-place Phillies as they approach Tuesday's trade deadline.
Blanton (8-9) gave up two runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings and then talked about the possibility he could be traded.
"I've been in the trade rumors a few times and it's nothing new for me," said Blanton, who will be a free agent after the season.
"All you can do is go out and play."
Blanton said the sudden fall from the top of the division has been difficult to take.
"I think a lot of guys are kind of thrown off by it, trying to figure out why and all that stuff," Blanton said. "It makes your mind spin a little bit."
Before the game, manager Charlie Manuel said the Phillies lack the edge they showed in winning the 2008 World Series and 2009 NL championship.
"One time we had the best attitude and the best hustle of any team in baseball," Manuel said. "We've kind of slipped a little bit. We've got to get that back. ... We get outplayed."
Blanton and Minor began the night ranked first and second, respectively, among NL pitchers in home runs allowed. Minor matched Blanton's 22 homers allowed on Utley's blast into the center field seats.
With one out in the first, Martin Prado singled, advanced to third on Heyward's single and scored on Chipper Jones' fly ball to center. Instead of throwing to the plate, center fielder Shane Victorino threw toward first base, but first baseman Ryan Howard was not covering the bag and the throw sailed past first for Victorino's first error in 273 games -- since Aug. 14, 2010, at the Mets.
The error was not costly, as Heyward was stranded at second.
The Braves pushed the lead to 2-1 in the third when Michael Bourn led off with a single, moved to second on Prado's groundout and scored when Heyward's infield hit bounced off Utley into right field. Utley was positioned in shallow right field and no error was charged on the play.
Blanton recorded 11 straight outs before the streak ended on the Phillies' second error. Brian McCann led off the second with a soft grounder Blanton fielded in front of the mound, but Howard dropped Blanton's throw at first base. Blanton pitched around the error by retiring the next three batters.
|The Braves' Mike Minor allows one run and strikes out nine in eight innings to edge the Phillies. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Jimmy Rollins, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.253|
|Shane Victorino, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.256|
|Chase Utley, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.247|
|Ryan Howard, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.231|
|Hunter Pence, RF||3||0||1||0||0||2||0||.268|
|Ty Wigginton, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.230|
|John Mayberry Jr., LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.232|
|Erik Kratz, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.368|
|Joe Blanton, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||1||.077|
|a- Carlos Ruiz, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.343|
|Antonio Bastardo, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-flied out for Blanton in the 8th|
|2B - Erik Kratz (3, Minor)|
|HR - Chase Utley (5, Minor)|
|RBI - Chase Utley (14)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|E - Ryan Howard (2, Missed catch of throw), Shane Victorino (1, Throwing)|
|Joe Blanton (L,8-9)||7||4||2||2||1||7||0||4.59|
|IBB - Jones by Antonio Bastardo|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 94-63, Antonio Bastardo 23-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 10-5, Antonio Bastardo 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 27, Antonio Bastardo 5|
|Michael Bourn, CF||4||1||1||0||0||2||0||.297|
|Martin Prado, LF||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.305|
|Jason Heyward, RF||4||0||2||1||0||1||1||.270|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||2||0||0||1||1||1||1||.314|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||3||.270|
|Brian McCann, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.240|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.209|
|Paul Janish, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.167|
|Mike Minor, P||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.029|
|Craig Kimbrel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|SF - Chipper Jones (2)|
|RBI - Jason Heyward (49), Chipper Jones (42)|
|SB - Martin Prado (13, 2nd base off Bastardo/Kratz), Jason Heyward (15, 2nd base off Blanton/Kratz)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Uggla-Janish-Freeman|
|Mike Minor (W,6-7)||8||4||1||1||0||9||1||5.18|
|Craig Kimbrel (S,30)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.35|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 103-72, Craig Kimbrel 15-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 5-9, Craig Kimbrel 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Mike Minor 27, Craig Kimbrel 3|
|Attendance - 39886|
|Game Time - 2:14|
|Temperature - 94|
|Umpires - Home - Lance Barksdale, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Field Culbreth|