ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Minor’s struggles are becoming a growing concern for the Atlanta Braves.
Minor had his shortest outing of the season, giving up six runs in only three-plus innings, and the Braves’ late comeback fell short in a 6-5 loss to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
Minor (3-6) said he felt strong but “way rustier” as he gave up 10 hits and two walks.
“And that’s not an excuse, either,” Minor said. “I felt good.”
Minor said he threw “pretty good” in the bullpen before the game.
“Then I got out there and I just wasn’t throwing to the corners,” he said. “It was one of those games I felt like I was trying to aim the ball a little bit.”
Minor’s ERA rose to 5.32 as he allowed six runs for the second straight start.
“I’m a little concerned about the outings, you know?” said manager Fredi Gonzalez.
“He just didn’t get it going. And so I’m a little concerned because we’ve see him so much better than that,” he said “We’ll keep working. We’ll keep trying to figure it out because he’s a big piece of our rotation right now.”
Minor allowed only one run in the first inning after the Marlins loaded the bases with no outs.
He gave up three runs in the third and was pulled after giving up three straight hits to open the fourth. The left-hander has allowed 10 or more hits seven times in five seasons, including five times this year.
Miami led 6-2 before its bullpen gave up three runs in the eighth, including Jason Heyward’s two-run single. Heyward drove in three runs with two hits.
The Braves began the night one game behind first-place Washington in the NL East.
Jacob Turner (3-6) allowed two runs in five innings in his first start in six weeks for the Marlins.
“That was great,” said Marlins manager Mike Redmond. “We talked before the game about him stepping up and getting another opportunity to go into the rotation and he did exactly that.”
A key for Turner was the first inning, when he loaded the bases but allowed only one run. He ended the inning when Evan Gattis hit into a double play.
“Being able to get out of that with just one run was huge,” Turner said.
The Braves’ only other run off Turner came on Justin Upton’s third-inning homer.
Donovan Solano had a career-high four hits and also reached on a walk as Miami took its second straight win over Atlanta to open the four-game series. Christian Yelich had two hits and scored three runs.
Steve Cishek pitched around Chris Johnson’s leadoff single in the ninth to earn his 23rd save.
Pinch-runner Jordan Schafer was caught stealing before Cishek struck out Andrelton Simmons and pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit.
The Braves enjoyed a promising start off Turner. B.J. Upton led off the first with a double before Turner loaded the bases with two one-out walks. Heyward’s single to center drove in Upton before Gattis hit into a double play to end the inning.
Giancarlo Stanton had a run-scoring double and Jeff Baker drove in a run with a single in the Marlins’ three-run third. Turner opened the fourth with a double off Minor and scored on Yelich’s single. After Solano’s double left runners on second and third, David Hale replaced Minor and gave up Marcel Ozuna’s run-scoring groundout for a 6-2 lead.
Following Upton’s 18th homer with two outs in the third, the Braves didn’t have another hit until Tommy La Stella’s eight-inning single off Mike Dunn drove in Tyler Pastornicky, who walked as a pinch-hitter.
Bryan Morris replaced Dunn and gave up Heyward’s two-run single, trimming Miami’s lead to 6-5.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman leaned over the rolled-up tarp to reach into the stands and catch Baker’s foul popup in the ninth.
NOTES: The Marlins lead the season series 6-5. … Gattis was 0 for 4 in his second straight start since coming off the 15-day DL. … Braves RHP Ervin Santana will make his third start of the year against Miami when he faces RHP Nathan Eovaldi Wednesday night. Santana is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in his first two starts against the Marlins.
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