Coming off the longest outing of his career, Mike Minor will try to lead the Atlanta Braves to a third straight victory tonight in the opener of a four-game series with Arizona Diamondbacks.
After struggling in a season-opening loss at the Mets on April 8, Minor rebounded to beat the Brewers on Saturday. The 24-year-old gave up only one unearned run on two hits and one walk over 7 1/3 innings, striking out four.
"It was a lot of fun just because I got past the fifth inning and helped the team out, helped the bullpen out," Minor said. "You know we didn't have to use a lot of guys."
The left-handed Minor is facing the Diamondbacks for the first time in his young career.
The Braves took the final two games of their three-game series with the Mets to begin the week, blowing out New York 14-6 in yesterday's finale. It helped Atlanta avenge a three-game sweep at New York to begin the season and was the club's seventh victory in eight games.
Juan Francisco, Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman each hit a two-run homer, while Michael Bourn had three hits and drove in two runs.
"It was awesome," Uggla said. "It was really fun to watch. Francisco got us going with another homer."
The Braves are aiming for their first victory in Arizona since June 10, 2010. Though they won all three of their games at home versus the Diamondbacks last season, Atlanta lost both of its games in the desert.
The Braves may struggle to get things going in Arizona tonight against Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter, who has allowed just one run in 13 career innings against the Braves over two starts. He is 1-0 in that span with a 0.69 earned run average.
The 26-year-old righty has struggled at the onset of the 2012 season however, giving up 10 earned runs over seven innings in two starts without a decision. Collmenter faced the Rockies last time out on Saturday and was tagged for five runs on five hits and three walks over four innings of his club's 8-7 setback.
That loss is part of Arizona's current stretch of four losses in six games, a span that includes two straight setbacks to Pittsburgh. The Pirates took the rubber match of the three-game series on Wednesday by a 2-1 score.
Daniel Hudson hurled 7 2/3 innings and was charged for both runs on six hits and three walks in the loss. Aaron Hill and Jason Kubel each had two hits for the Diamondbacks, who finished with just five as a team. Kubel drove in the only Arizona run with a single in the first.
"We didn't capitalize on our opportunities," admitted Arizona manager Kirk Gibson. "We have to give Pittsburgh a little bit of credit. Six of their last seven runs they've scored with two outs."
Arizona played without Chris Young, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday due to a right shoulder contusion suffered when he crashed into the wall in Tuesday's loss. He is batting .410 on the season with five homers and 13 RBI.