|Atlanta (78-52) «||1||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||5||10||0|
|St. Louis (76-54)||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||2||8||0|
ST. LOUIS -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was so impressed with Mike Minor that he referenced two of the best pitchers in the National League.
Minor bounced back from the shortest outing of his career with seven strong innings, leading Atlanta to a 5-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
"I felt like I was pounding the zone, hitting more spots," Minor said.
Atlanta, which has the best record in the NL, salvaged the finale of the four-game set. Andrelton Simmons hit his 12th homer for the Braves, who closed out a 2-4 road trip.
Minor (13-5) gave up one run and six hits while pitching on seven days' rest after allowing four runs in 1 2/3 innings against Washington on Aug. 17. The left-hander struck out two and walked one, playing a big role in the end of St. Louis' four-game winning streak and prompting his manager to compare him to aces Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.
"He's developing into a big-time deal," Gonzalez said. "The Wainwrights of the world, the Kershaws of the world, they stop losing streaks and extend winning streaks.
"He's becoming one of those guys."
Minor also beat the Cardinals 4-1 on July 26, starting the Braves on a 14-game winning streak.
"He was sharp today, he didn't give us a lot of mistakes to handle," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "And he got out of any kind of jams that he got himself into."
Minor, who also legged out an infield hit in the seventh, recorded his team-high 19th quality start. He leads the team with a career-high 13 wins, but he had little interest in any talk of being a stopper.
"I don't look at myself as the ace of this team," he said.
Simmons hit a solo drive in the seventh for his 12th homer, giving the Braves a 4-1 lead.
Craig Kimbrel came on with two out in the eighth and picked up his 41st save in 44 opportunities. It was his first four-out save of the season, a trend that may continue in October.
"We may have to do that come postseason," Gonzalez said. "It was perfect timing. He hasn't pitched in three days, with a day off tomorrow, it made a lot of sense to push him and he came through."
Kimbrel enjoyed the extra work. He also liked sitting the dugout for a change between the eighth and ninth innings.
"I found myself talking and joking around," he said. "Then I said, `Wait I've got three more outs to get.' But I was able to get back out there and get in the zone."
Atlanta jumped on Lance Lynn (13-8), scoring one in the first and two in the second. Lynn gave up four runs and nine hits over seven innings while dropping to 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in his last four starts.
Gerald Laird and Joey Terdoslavich, getting spot starts, each singled to start the second. Paul Janish followed with an RBI single. Schafer then pushed the lead to 3-0 with a double, marking the first time in his career he tripled and doubled in the same game.
The win helped Atlanta get back on track against the Cardinals. The Braves swept St. Louis in a three-game series July 26-28 in Atlanta.
"You don't want to get swept especially by a team that's a playoff team that you have the potential of seeing," Schafer said. "You don't want them to have confidence if you face them in the playoffs."
Allen Craig had three of the Cardinals' eight hits for his 44th multihit game of the season.
"We wanted the sweep, but it's still a really good series to win three games out of four against a tough team," Craig said.
|Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer has two hits with a run scored and an RBI in Atlanta's win over St. Louis. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Jordan Schafer, CF-RF||4||1||2||1||0||1||1||.270|
|Elliot Johnson, 2B||4||1||2||1||0||0||2||.186|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.313|
|Justin Upton, RF-LF||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.264|
|Gerald Laird, C||2||1||1||1||1||0||0||.289|
|Joe Terdoslavich, LF||3||1||2||0||0||0||0||.281|
|Todd Cunningham, RF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.286|
|Andrelton Simmons, SS||4||1||1||1||0||0||3||.248|
|Paul Janish, 3B||4||0||1||1||0||2||1||.133|
|Mike Minor, P||3||0||1||0||0||1||2||.163|
|B.J. Upton, CF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.182|
|2B - Jordan Schafer (7, Lynn)|
|3B - Jordan Schafer (3, Lynn)|
|HR - Andrelton Simmons (12, Lynn)|
|SF - Gerald Laird (1)|
|RBI - Jordan Schafer (16), Elliot Johnson (10), Gerald Laird (13), Andrelton Simmons (44), Paul Janish (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jordan Schafer (8)|
|SB - Elliot Johnson (15, 2nd base off Choate/Molina)|
|CS - Gerald Laird (1, 2nd base by Lynn/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Simmons-Johnson-Freeman|
|Mike Minor (W,13-5)||7||6||1||1||1||2||0||2.99|
|Craig Kimbrel (S,41)||1.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.03|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 97-65, Luis Avilan 11-6, Craig Kimbrel 11-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 5-13, Luis Avilan 2-0, Craig Kimbrel 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Mike Minor 27, Luis Avilan 4, Craig Kimbrel 4|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Matt Carpenter, 2B||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.313|
|Carlos Beltran, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.309|
|Matt Holliday, LF||4||1||1||1||0||0||0||.284|
|Allen Craig, 1B||4||0||3||1||0||1||0||.313|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.335|
|David Freese, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.265|
|Shane Robinson, CF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.281|
|a-Jon Jay, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.270|
|Pete Kozma, SS||2||0||0||0||1||1||2||.218|
|b-Daniel Descalso, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.248|
|Lance Lynn, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.091|
|c-Kolten Wong, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.200|
|a-lined out for Robinson in the 9th|
|b-grounded out for Kozma in the 9th|
|c-fouled out for Lynn in the 7th|
|2B - Matt Carpenter (43, Minor), Matt Holliday (25, Avilan)|
|RBI - Matt Holliday (67), Allen Craig (91)|
|2-OUT RBI - Allen Craig (41)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Kozma-Craig, Kozma-Craig-Kozma-Craig|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Lance Lynn (L,13-8)||7||9||4||4||1||5||1||4.02|
|WP - Michael Wacha (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Lance Lynn 105-69, Randy Choate 5-5, Michael Wacha 29-18|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Lance Lynn 8-5|
|Batters Faced - Lance Lynn 28, Randy Choate 2, Michael Wacha 6|
|Attendance - 44009|
|Game Time - 2:41|
|Temperature - 88|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Muchlinski, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Doug Eddings|