Minor dazzles in 2012 home debut
If Braves fans were holding their breath for a quality start after 8 games in the 2012 season, they finally got what they were looking for Saturday evening.
Backed by a two-run second inning, Mike Minor got all the run support he required in silencing the Brewers bats, exiting with one out in the 8th inning before the combo of Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrel closed the door on the Brewers lineup to preserve the Bravos 2-1 win.
Beneficiary of two early double plays, Minor went on to retire 18 straight batters before allowing a hit in the 8th inning, the deepest the young southpaw has ever gone in an MLB start.
He allowed a hit with one out to Carlos Gomez in the first inning and a double off the bat of Brewer catcher Jonathan Lucroy - the last pitch he threw before departing to a well-deserved ovation from the Turner Field faithful.
Showing the confidence he spoke of early in Spring Training, Minor threw 99 pitches (67 for strikes), striking out 4 while inducing 7 groundouts to 6 fly ball outs.
But it was the way he approached the Brewers lineup each time around, not giving in, especially to the powerful bats of Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart. The heart of Milwaukee's order went a combined 1-for-9 with 2 K's and 2 walks, going 0-2 with runners in scoring position.
When he finally exited in the top of the 8th inning after Lucroy's double, Minor became the first Braves pitcher in 2012 to record an out in the 6th inning, work through the 7th inning and begin the 8th.
For years, Braves faithful have seen quality starts become commonplace, but after the disappointing end to 2011, Minor's display Saturday evening was indeed a sight for sore eyes.