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Braves blank Giants; Kimbrel sets NL rookie saves record

Aug 19, 2011 - 4:25 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Mike Minor and three relievers combined on a five-hit shutout and Chipper Jones' 11th homer of the year accounted for the game's lone run, as the Atlanta Braves toppled the San Francisco Giants at Turner Field.

Minor (3-2), who outdueled Tim Lincecum, scattered four hits and struck out nine batters over six innings. Eric O`Flaherty pitched the seventh, Jonny Venters retired the side in order in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel notched his 37th save to set the National League rookie record.

"It was definitely my best outing, whether it's Triple-A or here," Minor said. "The defense was also good tonight."

Kimbrel, who had been tied with Todd Worrell (St. Louis, 1986), fanned the final two hitters. He also got great defense behind him when second baseman Dan Uggla made a tumbling over-the-shoulder catch in right-center field to rob Orlando Cabrera of a hit.

Thursday's 1-0 win allowed the Braves to widen their lead in the NL wild card standings to six games over the Giants.

Lincecum (11-10) fanned seven over as many innings and allowed five hits, but the Giants lost three of the four games in this series - each time by a run. They remained 2 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Arizona.

The Giants wasted a Cody Ross lead-off double in the opening inning. Lincecum struck out to leave two men on base in the second, but the Braves stranded a pair in scoring position in the fourth when Uggla fanned and Freddie Freeman grounded out.

Jones led off the fifth by crushing a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right field.

"You don't think you're going to get too many homers off Lincecum," Jones said. "One mistake is all we needed. That game goes to Mike Minor and the bullpen. They were awesome."

The Giants didn't have a runner in scoring position over the final seven innings.

Despite the loss, Lincecum continued to impress. He has the lowest road ERA in the majors at 2.02. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner has given up just three earned runs over his last 33 innings on the road, covering five contests.

"Just one big mistake that I made with that pitch and he hit it out of the park," Lincecum said. "I have a knack for doing that, giving up that go-ahead home run. If I could just eliminate that, whatever game I'm in at that time, sure we'd be a lot more successful."

Game Notes

Kimbrel has 96 strikeouts this year, which leads the majors for relievers. He hasn't allowed a run over his last 28 appearances, covering 28 2/3 innings...The major league record for rookie saves is held by Texas' Neftali Feliz with 40 in 2010...Atlanta won six of seven over the Giants this season.