Mike Minor shuts down Dodgers, Braves tie NLDS with 4-3 Game 2 win

Kevin C. Cox

Minor struck out five in 6.1 innings in winning his postseason debut. The Braves head to LA tied at one apiece.

Mike Minor had about as good a game as a pitcher could have in his postseason debut.

In what was essentially a must-win game, Minor allowed just one run in 6.1 innings while his offense backed him up with some key hits, and the Braves tied the NLDS with a 4-3 win in Game 2.

Early on, though, Minor had his typical first-inning troubles, walking Mark Ellis and then giving up a double to right to Hanley Ramirez. The relay throw was bobbled, allowing Ellis to score uncontested. The double was one of three two-strike hits Minor allowed in the first two innings.

Atlanta would fight back to take their first lead of the series against Zack Greinke. After Evan Gattis singled leading off the second inning, Andrelton Simmons drove a two-out double over Yasiel Puig in right to bring home Gattis. Then in the fourth, Chris Johnson brought home Freddie Freeman, who had doubled to start the inning, with a two-out single to left.

After his early-inning struggles, Minor held the Dodgers in check and escaped a threat in the sixth with two on and two out, but struck out Juan Uribe to preserve the lead.

That lead was in jeopardy again in the seventh. Luis Ayala had just relieved Minor, and the tying run was on second base when Michael Young hit what was supposed to be a routine ground ball to first; Ayala took the throw but failed to step on first and everyone was safe. Fortunately, Luis Avilan bailed him out, turning a double play on Carl Crawford to end the threat. Dodgers hitters hit into three double plays in the game.

Now with Greinke out of the game, the Braves offense took their hacks at LA's bullpen in the seventh. Brian McCann drew a leadoff walk followed by a Chris Johnson single. Two outs later, Reed Johnson was intentionally walked so lefty Paco Rodriguez could face Jason Heyward, but that strategy backfired. Heyward lined a two-run single to center for some much-needed insurance.

Heyward's hit couldn't have come at a better time because in the eighth, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer just inside the left-field pole off David Carpenter to cut Atlanta's lead back to one, but Carpenter would rally to strike out Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig in succession.

Craig Kimbrel was brought on for a four-out save, but it wasn't without some drama. Kimbrel walked two in the ninth, but pinch-runner Dee Gordon was caught stealing (his reaction to the call was priceless) and Kimbrel struck out Crawford to seal the Game 2 win.

Win Expectancy Graph

Source: FanGraphs

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