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No Justin Upton. No B.J. Upton. No Jason Heyward. No problem for the Atlanta Braves. Starting pitcher Mike Minor had them covered on Saturday not only on the hill, where he allowed only two runs over seven innings, but also with the lumber as his two-run double in the fifth inning gave Atlanta their first lead in an eventual 5-2 victory.
That's a pretty big hit for an .086 hitter who pitches the ball for a living, but seems to have trouble reading the same pitches when they're coming in his general direction. Or at least that's how he put it.
''Oh yeah, every time I go up there I think I'm going to hit the ball,'' Minor said with a slight smile. ''No, actually I thought it was a fastball and it was a slider.''
His honestly is refreshing. As for manager Fredi Gonzalez's take on his short-handed lineup.
''I think Vegas lost a lot of money today when they saw our lineup. But you know what, you can't judge and you can't handicap heart.''
Somewhere Hawk Harrelson is screaming "Or the will to win, Fredi!"
All kidding aside, nice win for the Braves.
Trade value on the rise: With each passing day, Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano are driving their trade value a little higher for Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein. In the Cubs 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Garza earned his fifth consecutive win by allowing two runs over 6 2/3 innings. At the plate, Soriano homered for the ninth time since June 28 to extend his most recent hot streak. As everybody knows by now, once he gets on those tears, he carry any offense for a weeks at a time. Someone might want to take a gamble on that continuing throughout the rest of the season.
Double overtime: After being rained out on Friday, the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Philles met for two on Saturday and ended up splitting the double dip — both in extra innings. In the opener, it was Chicago stealing the 5-4 victory in 11 on Alexei Ramirez's RBI double. In the nightcap, Philadelphia won it 2-1 when Michael Young singled home the winner in 13. Unfortunately, they probably didn't feel like celebrating too much after learning that Ben Revere suffered a broken foot in game one.
Twins 4, Yankees 1: Trevor Plouffe, Ryan Doumit and Pedro Florimon all homer as Minnesota wins for just the second time in 14 games.
Blue Jays 7, Orioles 3: Two more home runs for Baltimore, including Chris Davis' 36th, but they were both solo. J.P. Arencibia's two-run single in the sixth was the difference for the Jays.
Rays 4, Astros 3: Luke Scott homered against his former team and knocked in three for Tampa.
Indians 5, Royals 3: Lonnie Chisenhall's iced the game with a sixth inning grand slam off Jeremy Guthrie.
Pirates 4, Mets 2: Andrew McCutchen tied the game with a homer in the sixth and singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh.
Dodgers 1, Rockies 0: Zack Greinke goes the distance for his fourth career shutout.
Rangers 7, Tigers 1: Texas crushes Max Scherzer's attempt to start 14-0.
Marlins 2, Nationals 1 (1o inn.): Miami will go for the three-game series sweep on Sunday.
A's 3, Red Sox 0: A.J. Griffin and Grant Balfour combine on the shutout with Balfour extending his franchise record save streak to 43.
Diamondbacks 5, Brewers 4: Arizona's 27th comeback victory of the season. They have 50 overall heading into Sunday.
Mariners 6, Angels 0: Felix Hernandez picks up his career best tenth victory before the All-Star break.
via Jack Curry)
''I was just ready to hit. Come up and in and (I) just like to bear down and be ready to hit and that's what happened.''
— Andrew McCutchen on homering one pitch after being buzzed David Aardsma.
• Replacement outfielders Jose Constanza, Reed Johnson and Joey Terdoslavich had seven hits on Saturday. That's the most combined hits by a Braves outfield in a game this season.
• Jose Fernandez joined Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden as the third NL pitcher age 20 or younger to reach 100 strikeouts by the All-Star break. (via ESPN Stats & Info)
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