Braves-Marlins Preview

The Associated Press

Based on the way Atlanta's Mike Minor has pitched since the last month of the 2012 season, facing the left-hander might not provide the Miami Marlins with much of a chance to end their offensive struggles.

Minor looks to help the visiting Braves to a sixth consecutive victory overall and seventh in a row over the Marlins, who hope to avoid a fifth straight defeat in Wednesday night's series finale.

Atlanta (7-1) continued its best start since 2007 on Tuesday when Kris Medlen allowed an unearned run over seven innings and rookie catcher Evan Gattis hit a two-run homer in a 3-2 win at Miami.

The Braves have won six straight and 16 of 19 over the Marlins (1-7), who are off to their worst start since the 1998 team went 1-11. Atlanta pitching has held Miami to two runs and six hits in the series.

"When you are not winning, you are going to get frustrated,'' said Placido Polanco, who had half of the Marlins' four hits Tuesday. "We're all here to win, and we're not winning right now. We just have to put a couple of hits together and start scoring runs.''

Miami, whose 609 runs last season were the second-fewest in the majors, has totaled 16 and is 11 for 63 (.175) with runners in scoring position.

Things likely won't get any easier against Minor, who allowed a homer and struck out seven in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday to improve to 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his last eight starts.

That performance came as a relief for Minor, who posted a 6.26 ERA in six starts during spring training.

"With spring training not going as well, I still had that confidence,'' he said. "I guess that was a big part of it (Friday).

"I'm not going to say I'm going to have a game like this every time. But I had the confidence coming into the season that I was going to attack the hitters like I did last year and throw more breaking balls.''

He gave up six runs in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-4 loss in his first 2012 start versus Miami, but went 1-1 with a 1.72 ERA in the next three against the Marlins.

Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton is 2 for 6 with two homers against Minor, but 4 for 26 (.154) without an RBI in 2013.

The Marlins hope to provide scheduled starter Alex Sanabia some support as he tries to build on a strong season debut in the team's lone victory. Sanabia, who made 14 starts for the Marlins in 2010-11 before spending last season in the minors, allowed six hits over six scoreless innings of a 7-5 win over the New York Mets on Friday.

"It felt awesome to be back out there on a big league mound. It's been a while,'' said Sanabia, who earned a spot in the rotation after injuries to Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez.

The right-hander has not faced the Braves since 2010, when he posted a 3.86 ERA while not recording a decision in three starts against them.

Gattis and teammate Justin Upton are a combined 8 for 16 with two homers and four RBIs in the series.

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