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ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Minor struck out nine and combined with Craig Kimbrel on a four-hitter, Jason Heyward had two hits and drove in a run, and the Atlanta Braves edged Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 Saturday night.
Minor (6-7) allowed one run on four hits and no walks in eight innings. His nine strikeouts matched his season high. He retired the last 13 batters he faced.
The Phillies’ only run came on Chase Utley’s homer in the fourth.
Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 30th save. Utley was caught looking at Kimbrel’s 99 mph fastball for a strike to end the game.
The Braves, who lost 12 of 18 games to the Phillies in 2011, are 6-2 against Philadelphia with five straight wins in 2012. Atlanta swept a three-game series at Philadelphia on July 6-8 and will try to complete another three-game sweep on Sunday.
Minor made his longest start since lasting eight innings in a win at Arizona on April 19. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his four starts in July.
Blanton (8-9) gave up two runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings.
Blanton and Minor began the night ranked first and second, respectively, among NL pitchers in home runs allowed. Minor matched Blanton’s 22 homers allowed on Utley’s blast into the center field seats.
With one out in the first, Martin Prado singled, advanced to third on Heyward’s single and scored on Chipper Jones’ fly ball to center. Instead of throwing to the plate, center fielder Shane Victorino threw toward first base, but first baseman Ryan Howard was not covering the bag and the throw sailed past first for Victorino’s first error in 273 games — since Aug. 14, 2010, at the Mets.
The error was not costly, as Heyward was stranded at second.
The Braves pushed the lead to 2-1 in the third when Michael Bourn led off with a single, moved to second on Prado’s groundout and scored when Heyward’s infield hit bounced off Utley into right field. Utley was positioned in shallow right field and no error was charged on the play.
Blanton recorded 11 straight outs before the streak ended on the Phillies’ second error. Brian McCann led off the second with a soft grounder Blanton fielded in front of the mound, but Howard dropped Blanton’s throw at first base. Blanton pitched around the error by retiring the next three batters.
NOTES: C Erik Kratz started for Carlos Ruiz, who was given a regular day off, but also is battling plantar fasciitis. Manager Charlie Manuel said he believes Ruiz, who lined out as a pinch hitter in the eighth, can play through the foot pain with help from trainers. … Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said RHP Kris Medlen will replace RHP Jair Jurrjens in the rotation and start Tuesday against the Marlins. Jurrjens moves to the bullpen. … RHP Peter Moylan, who is returning from rotator cuff surgery and hasn’t pitched in the majors this season, was placed on Triple-A Gwinnett’s 15-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis. … SS Andrelton Simmons, on the disabled list with a broken right little finger, said his cast should come off next week. … The series ends Sunday when Phillies RHP Roy Halladay faces Atlanta RHP Tim Hudson.
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