Minor's scoreless start leads Braves past Mets

Minor's scoreless start leads Braves past Mets

Minor's scoreless start leads Braves past Mets
ATLANTA -- Kris Medlen has deservedly gained widespread attention over the past month. But if Mike Minor spends the next couple of weeks doing what he has done over the past couple of months, Medlen will not be the only Braves pitcher drawing rave reviews during the postseason.

Three months after putting himself in position to be removed from the starting rotation, Minor received a rousing standing ovation from the sellout crowd that packed Turner Field on Saturday night. His impressive performance, combined with a pair of Martin Prado doubles, carried the Braves to a 2-0 win over the Mets.

"I had a lot of nerves tonight," Minor said. "I don't think it was because of the crowd. I think it was more, 'OK, this could be my last start.' I don't know if I'm going to come out of the bullpen or whenever they need me. But I felt tonight was just one of those nights that I was pumped up for because I knew it was one of my last starts of the year."

Making his final regular-season start, Minor limited the Mets to three hits in 6 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old left-hander was in complete control, as he had faced just one more than the minimum number of batters before seeing his evening end with David Wright's opposite-field, one-out double in the seventh.

"Terrific, terrific performance," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I just wish we could have scored him some runs so he could have had a little breathing room."

Chad Durbin and Luis Avilan combined to leave Wright stranded and preserve this effort from Minor, who posted a 2.21 ERA in his final 15 starts and finished with an 11-10 record. He won each of his final five decisions and compiled a very impressive 0.87 ERA in five September starts.

"We got the win tonight and also I'm not even anymore," Minor said. "I'm 11-10 and that's considered a winning record."

Prado scored the game's first run when he drilled an opposite-field double off Chris Young in the first inning and scored on Jason Heyward's groundout. His second double of the game came with two outs in the fifth inning and scored Andrelton Simmons.

This was Prado's National League-leading 60th multihit game of the season. He is the first Braves player to record this many multihit games in a season since current first-base coach Terry Pendleton in 1992.

"I don't look for numbers," Prado said. "Every time I hit the ball, I try to go hard and get as close to scoring as I can get. That's the way I like to play. I like to play hard."

Once Craig Kimbrel overcame a Dan Uggla error and some shaky command in a scoreless ninth, the Braves celebrated their 11th win in their past 14 games. Still, their hopes to win the NL East are almost dead. They are four games behind the Nationals with just four games to play.

If the Braves do not win the division, they are ready to start Medlen on Friday in the one-game playoff that will determine which of the NL's two Wild Card entrants advance to the Division Series. If they win that game, they will enter the NLDS confident about a starting rotation that has been bolstered by Minor's turnaround.

Minor lowered his ERA from 6.20 to 4.12 in his final 15 starts of the season. If the Braves advance to the Division Series, he could be lined up to start Game 2.

"He's one of those kids that's getting mature and he's just learning," Prado said. "He's getting tips from [Tim Hudson] and all the veteran guys. He's coming along, and the way he works, the way he prepares himself, he's getting even better. Hopefully, he can keep the same routine, the same approach the rest of the year and the rest of his career."

Showing some of the same poise and maturity that he displayed from the first day of Spring Training, Minor was not fazed while pitching in front of a raucous crowd that gathered for the second-to-last regular-season game Chipper Jones played in Atlanta.

Scott Hairston opened the second inning with a single and then was erased when Minor got Jason Bay to ground into a double play. The only other hit the Mets recorded before Wright's double came courtesy of Andres Torres' one-out single in the fourth inning.

"I'm really, really excited because I feel good," Minor said. "My body feels really good. I'm executing pitches and I'm working really well with the catchers."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.