Mike Minor was stellar tonight.
In a time where the Braves are looking for an upgrade to their rotation, Mike Minor's return to his last season form may give them an upgrade just as good as a trade. Minor dominated the Phillies over eight masterful innings, allowing only one run on four hits.
Atlanta got on the board early in the first against Philly starter Joe Blanton. After a Michael Bourn strikout to start the game, Martin Prado started the rally with an infield single on a high chopper off the plate to shortstop. Jason Heyward followed with a single up the middle, just out of the reach of Jimmy Rollins. That brought up Chipper Jones, who quickly fell behind 0-2 before managing to lift a breaking pitch that fooled him into center field for a sacrifice fly.
The top of the order kept in going in the 3rd inning, when Michael Bourn scored on an RBI infield single by Jason Heyward. Heyward's single made it 2-0, which would be all Minor would need.
Minor was bitten by the gopherball in the 4th inning, when he allowed a solo homer to Chase Utley on, unsurprisingly, his changeup. It would be the lone blemish on an otherwise spectacular outing. Minor went 8 strong innings, allowing only 4 hits. He didn't walk a man while whiffing 9 Phillies. Minor's outing lowered his July ERA under 2.00, a strong sign that he's making strides to right the ship. If Minor can limit the damage done on his changeup, then he may finally live up to his potential from last season.
Joe Blanton actually pitched very well for the Phillies again, giving up only 4 hits as well. Blanton struck out 7 Braves over 7 innings of work, but got stuck with the hard luck loss.
Craig Kimbrel took the ball straight from Minor in the 9th and was, unsurprisingly, filthy. Kimbrel fanned Rollins and Utley, while coaxing a weak grounder from Shane Victorino. It was Kimbrel's 30th save of the year so far.