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Minor, Braves hold off Phillies

Jul 29, 2012 - 2:13 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Mike Minor retired the final 13 batters he faced and the Braves made a pair of early runs hold up in a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Minor (6-7) tied a season-high with nine strikeouts over eight innings and snapped a personal two-start winless skid. In this last three appearances, the left-hander has given up just four earned runs covering 21 innings.

Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones each knocked in a run, as Atlanta won its fourth in a row.

Chase Utley homered in the fourth inning, but he was caught looking at strike three from Craig Kimbrel to end the game. Kimbrel locked down his 30th save.

The Phillies, who had just four hits and none after the fourth inning, have lost two straight following a four-game winning streak.

Joe Blanton (8-9), making his 100th start in a Phillies uniform, surrendered four hits and the two runs over seven frames. The right-hander also had seven strikeouts.

The Braves scored in the opening inning thanks in part to some shoddy defense. Martin Prado and Heyward singled with one out to place runners at the corners. Jones then sent a fly ball to right-center field and Shane Victorino threw to first in an attempt to double off Heyward, but nobody was covering the base because Ryan Howard moved over to possibly cut off a throw home. Prado scored easily.

"You just play. You just continue to stay focused, play the game, and not worry about what's going on," Victorino said of the Phillies' season-long struggles. "We have to find a way to win games, especially against your division teams."

Michael Bourn singled leading off the bottom of the third, went to second on a groundout, and scored on Heyward's single to right when the ball deflected off Utley, who was playing in shallow right on the shift.

Utley homered to right-center with one out in the fourth. Hunter Pence singled with two outs, but Minor was simply spot-on after that, not allowing a base runner the rest of the way.

"He was really good," Jones said of Minor. "I know we keep saying this, but after certain starts that he has, the kid just continues to get better, get that confidence and be able to work a lineup like that ... he really only made one mistake."

It was an off night for Howard, who not only went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. He also committed an error by dropping a throw from Blanton on a supposed easy groundout in the seventh inning. In the following frame, the Phillies had Prado picked off, but he took second when Howard's throw to Jimmy Rollins went to the opposite side of second base.

For Blanton, there's a chance this may have been his final game in a Phillies uniform. He's in the final season of a three-year, $24 million contract and has been part of trade rumors now and in the past.

"It is what it is, that's the business side," Blanton said. "I guess that's the fortunate thing about my career. I've been in trade rumors a few times so I've had to deal with it. It's nothing new for me."

Game Notes

Prior to Saturday, Victorino had gone 273 straight games without committing an error. His last one came Aug. 14, 2010 against the Mets...Minor's eight innings equaled a career-best...Atlanta has taken six of eight from Philadelphia so far this season...Brian McCann, who had homered in each of his last six games facing Philadelphia, went 0-for-3.