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St. Louis at Atlanta

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St. Louis (62-38)010000000141
Atlanta (58-45) «02001010x480

Minor sharp as Braves top Wainwright, Cardinals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- After Mike Minor pitched like a rising ace, he tipped his cap to the injured leader of the Atlanta Braves' rotation.

Minor allowed only one run to give the depleted staff a lift, Jason Heyward homered, and the Braves beat Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 in a matchup of division leaders on Friday night.

Minor (10-5) gave up four hits with no walks in seven innings. His sharp performance came two days after Tim Hudson was lost for the season with a broken right ankle.

Minor, who became the first Braves pitcher to reach 10 wins, lowered his ERA to 2.89. His strong start was especially important after Hudson's season ended.

Asked if he felt he needed to step up as the staff ace, Minor said, "That's not really my role. I go out every fifth day and just try to pitch.

"With Huddy going down, that was our ace. That was our best guy. We just need everybody else to step it up a little bit."

The Atlanta rotation also is without left-hander Paul Maholm, who is expected to miss at least one start because of a bruised left wrist.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez also resisted suggestions that Minor is emerging as the top pitcher on a young staff that also includes rookies Julio Teheran and Alex Wood.

"Let's not get there yet," Gonzalez said.

"Mike Minor doesn't have to do anything. He's been this good for a while. We saw him growing up and getting better and better about this time last year. Let's let him dictate his own career and let's not start putting labels yet."

Wainwright (13-6), the NL leader in wins, took his first loss since a 2-1 decision to Texas on June 23.

Yadier Molina gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead with his eighth homer in the second inning. The Braves answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Wainwright allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits and one walk in seven innings. He complimented the Braves hitters on their patience in trying for opposite-field hits.

"I think I just have to tip my hat," Wainwright said. "I think they had a great approach from the first pitch of the game on.

"They took some great at-bats off me, worked the counts, and they didn't get pull-happy out there. Really, they hit some tough pitches and worked some tough at-bats. Sometimes you just get beat. I had some pretty good stuff tonight."

The Braves took a 2-1 lead with four hits off Wainwright in the second. Brian McCann doubled, moved to third on Dan Uggla's single, and scored on Chris Johnson's single to left field. Minor added a single with two outs to drive in Uggla.

Heyward pushed the lead to 3-1 with his eighth homer, a one-out shot to left field, in the fifth.

"I got a pitch to hit," Heyward said before adding that Wainwright "made a mistake with a changeup away."

With one out in the seventh, and Johnson on first base following his second hit, Joey Terdoslavich pinch-hit for Minor and hit a grounder to shortstop Pete Kozma, who threw wild toward second base. Johnson scored on the error.

Jordan Walden pitched a perfect eighth inning before Craig Kimbrel recorded the final three outs for his 29th save.

Heyward, sprinting toward the infield from right field, made a diving catch to take a hit away from David Freese in the fifth inning. Heyward rolled and came up holding the ball as Minor slapped his glove in approval on the mound.

Notes

  • Of Minor's 103 pitches, 70 were strikes.
  • Attendance was 50,124, a sellout.
  • Hudson had surgery to repair his broken right ankle. His wife, Kim, said on her Twitter account the procedure went well.
  • RHP Brandon Beachy, recovering from right elbow ligament-replacement surgery in June 2012, will come off the DL to take Hudson's rotation spot Monday night against Colorado.
  • Cardinals LHP John Gast had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. He could return in eight to 12 months. Gast was 2-0 with a 5.11 ERA in three starts before he was placed on the disabled list on May 26 with a left shoulder strain.
  • Teheran will face Joe Kelly in a matchup of right-handers on Saturday. Kelly will be making his fourth start of the season.
 
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Chris Johnson drives a base hit up the middle in the Braves' victory over Adam Wainright and the Cardinals.  (USATSI)
Chris Johnson drives a base hit up the middle in the Braves' victory over Adam Wainright and the Cardinals. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

C. Johnson
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
St. Louis

A. Wainwright
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 3
BB 1
K 8
 
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Matt Carpenter, 2B4010001 .325
Shane Robinson, CF3000002 .260
   a-Jon Jay, PH1000010 .249
Carlos Beltran, RF3000111 .299
Allen Craig, LF4000021 .331
Yadier Molina, C4111011 .335
David Freese, 3B3010000 .275
Matt Adams, 1B3000011 .299
Pete Kozma, SS3010010 .243
Adam Wainwright, P1000000 .109
   b-Daniel Descalso, PH1000000 .270
Totals3014117  
a-struck out for Robinson in the 9th
b-fouled out for Wainwright in the 8th
Batting
2B - Matt Carpenter (32, Minor), Pete Kozma (15, Minor)
HR - Yadier Molina (8, Minor)
SH - Adam Wainwright (7)
RBI - Yadier Molina (54)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Freese-M. Carpenter-Adams, Freese-M. Carpenter-Adams-Adams-Kozma
E - Pete Kozma (5, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Adam Wainwright (L,13-6) 7743181 2.51
Randy Choate 1100010 2.01
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 119-76, Randy Choate 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 7-6, Randy Choate 1-0
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 29, Randy Choate 3
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andrelton Simmons, SS4000003 .240
Jason Heyward, RF4111001 .223
Freddie Freeman, 1B4000040 .303
Evan Gattis, LF2010100 .259
   Reed Johnson, CF1010000 .257
Brian McCann, C4110013 .286
Dan Uggla, 2B3110011 .205
Chris Johnson, 3B3121010 .329
Jose Constanza, CF-LF3000012 .182
Mike Minor, P2011010 .132
   a-Joe Terdoslavich, PH1000000 .192
Totals3148319  
a-hit into fielder's choice for Minor in the 7th
Batting
2B - Brian McCann (10, Wainwright)
HR - Jason Heyward (8, Wainwright)
RBI - Jason Heyward (22), Chris Johnson (34), Mike Minor (5)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Heyward (10), Mike Minor (3)
Team LOB - 4
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Minor (W,10-5) 7411051 2.89
Jordan Walden (H,10) 1000000 2.43
Craig Kimbrel (S,29) 1000120 1.41
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 103-70, Jordan Walden 7-4, Craig Kimbrel 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 6-10, Craig Kimbrel 1-0
Batters Faced - Mike Minor 25, Jordan Walden 3, Craig Kimbrel 4
Game Information
Attendance - 50124
Game Time - 2:33
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Chris Conroy, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Jerry Meals