Minor sharp as Braves win their fourth in a row

Atlanta 2, Milwaukee 1
Atlanta's Brian McCann (front) heads for home plate as Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez chases down the ball after losing it on a throw. The Braves won their fourth game in a row Saturday.



ATLANTA — For the first time this season, the Atlanta Braves won a game on the strength of their starting pitching.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez suggested it won’t be the last time Mike Minor dominates a game.

Minor pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning to give Atlanta’s rotation a lift and the Braves survived a ninth-inning scare to beat Shaun Marcum and the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

“He keeps getting better and better,” said Gonzalez of Minor. “I can’t wait to see the next start.”

Craig Kimbrel pitched out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the ninth, striking out pinch-hitter George Kottaras and Mat Gamel for his fourth save.

Minor (1-1) recorded 18 consecutive outs after hitting Corey Hart with a pitch to open the second inning. The left-hander did not allow an earned run in 7⅓ innings, becoming the first Braves starter this season to get an out after the fifth. He struck out four and walked one in the longest start of his career.

“It was a lot of fun just because I got past the fifth inning and helped the team out, helped the bullpen out,” Minor said.

The Braves have won four in a row after losing their first four games. Milwaukee has lost three in a row.

Juan Francisco started at third base for Chipper Jones, who was held out for the second consecutive game after having his surgically repaired left knee drained on Friday. Francisco had a run-scoring double in the Braves’ two-run second inning.

With one out in the ninth, Kimbrel walked Ryan Braun, who moved to second on a single by Aramis Ramirez. Hart walked to load the bases.

“It seems like once he got the bases loaded, he bore down and made some great pitches,” said catcher Brian McCann of Kimbrel, who struck out Kottaras on a called third strike before Gamel went down swinging.

Marcum (1-1) gave up only three hits and two runs in seven innings.