Baseball / Sports

Mike Minor leads Braves to 8-3 victory against Padres

ATLANTA -- There was a sense of discontent among the crowd at Turner Field on Sunday when Braves left-hander Mike Minor immediately got in a jam against the San Diego Padres. There was similar unease when he gave up a home run in the third inning and then failed to get down a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the inning.

Fans thought they might be witnessing another Minor flop and more floundering fundamentals from the Braves' offense. Instead, they ended up seeing Minor end his recent string of poor outings and get plenty of support without the benefit of home runs.

The Braves won 8-3 with Minor limiting the Padres to three runs over 7 2/3 innings and the offense erupting for six runs in the third.

Minor had allowed six runs in each of his previous two starts. He lasted just three innings against the Marlins on Tuesday and couldn't explain why he was unable to get back on track after a respectable start to the season and a strong year in 2013.

Minor put those issues to rest for at least one start by limiting the Padres to three runs -- one charged to him after he left the game -- and stranding six base runners.

Minor said he made some changes in his mechanics since his last start but also wanted to get back to challenging hitters instead of trying to work the edges of the plate.

"I kind of shied away from the contact lately," he said. "Today I wanted to go out and attack hitters and make them earn it."

Catcher Gerald Laird said he and Minor scrapped the usual detailed pregame conversation about the opposing lineup.

"I said, Listen, I know you're battling some stuff out there and you're going through some changes but let's get back to the basics and pound the zone with everything,'" Laird recalled. "'Let's not really go over the hitters and just make pitches today. Throw pitches in the zone, make pitches, let's focus on keeping it simple.' And he did that, we did that."

When Minor (4-6) headed for the dugout with a 6-1 lead in the seventh, the fans who'd feared another poor start gave him an ovation for an effective effort. Minor earned his second quality start (at least six innings and no more than three earned runs) among his past six outings.

The Braves answered Yangervis Solarte's home run in the top of the third inning with six runs. Andrelton Simmons, Tommy La Stella, Chris Johnson and Ryan Doumit drove in runs as the Braves batted around against Padres lefty Eric Stults (3-13).

Minor's only major stumble from there was allowing a home run to Rene Rivera in the sixth inning.

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