Prado, Minor carry Braves over Mets

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Martin Prado's two doubles gave the Atlanta Braves their only two runs of the night -- he scored after getting on base in the first inning and drove in the second run in the fifth -- but it was enough to beat the New York Mets 2-0.

The Mets, looking ahead to next season, and the Braves, looking ahead to next Friday's wild-card game, sent two hot pitchers to the mound: Chris Young, 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA in four September starts, and Mike Minor, who had allowed just three runs in his last four starts.

Minor, for once, had early run support: the Braves were up 1-0 after the first inning. Martin Prado ripped a one-out double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scampered home on Jason Heyward's groundout to short. At least that was an earned run. Minor has had to settle for an unearned run cushion in recent games.

"Terrific performance," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I just wish we could score him some runs so he could have a little breathing room instead of staring David Wright and Lucas Duda right down the barrel there."

Minor (11-10) was not only dealing -- the Mets had just one baserunner in the second and one in the fourth -- but also he was fielding his position, assisting in three groundouts.

"I had a lot of nerves tonight," Minor said. "I don't think it was because of the crowd. It was like, OK, this could possibly be my last start. I don't know if I'll start again, I might come out of the bullpen, wherever they need me."

Young (4-9), meanwhile, was scattering a few hits and staying out of trouble until the fifth when Prado doubled again, scoring Andrelton Simmons, who led off the inning with a single to left. It was Prado's National League-leading 60th multi-hit game.

Mets manager Terry Collins was pleased with how Young had handled his year. "His record doesn't indicate it," Collins said, "but we didn't give him a lot of run support."

Young, though, had a different view of things. "Ultimately," he said, "it's about wins and losses and we didn't win a whole lot when I pitched."

Minor was lifted after 88 pitches following David Wright's one-out ground-rule double in the seventh. Minor's spot was due up first in the bottom of the inning anyway, and manager Fredi Gonzalez, his eyes still on winning the division, brought in Chad Durbin and Luis Avilan to face a batter each. Avilan balked Wright to third base before he'd thrown a pitch but got Lucas Duda to strike out, ending the Mets' threat.

Wright had another chance to do damage with one on and one out in the ninth but he got on base the hard way: Craig Kimbrel hit him with one of his hard fastballs. Fortunately it wasn't the one that registered 100 mph on the radar gun.

Notes: Mets manager Terry Collins hasn't decided whether RHP R.A. Dickey or RHP Jeremy Hefner will start Tuesday against the Marlins, but Dickey is preparing as though he were starting; it would be his regular day ... Collins plans to rest 3B David Wright Sunday ... Mets INF Ronny Cedeno was back in the lineup, playing second base; he's been dealing with a tight hamstring and hadn't played since Sept. 20 against the Phillies ... Braves LHP Mike Minor and LHP Paul Maholm are the two candidates for the third starter manager Fredi Gonzalez is planning to carry on the wild-card game roster. RHP Kris Medlen is scheduled to start that game with RHP Tim Hudson in line to pitch the next game if the Braves advance. But Gonzalez wants a Plan B if something strange happens, like Medlen coming down with food poisoning or the game going 18 innings, as happened when the Braves played the Astros in the 2004 division series ... Braves CF Michael Bourn missed another start with a slightly sprained left thumb. Bourn, who has been day to day since he jammed the thumb sliding into second base in Philadelphia on Sept. 23, is progressing, but Gonzalez says he is wary of a setback if Bourn plays too soon. In the meantime, Gonzalez is auditioning outfielders for a possible postseason roster spot, including Jose Constanza, Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones said that when he took the field Friday after his tribute ceremony he was as nervous as he was for his major league debut. He couldn't even feel his arms and legs.
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