Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 4/15/12
Mike Minor wasn't optimistic after the first couple of innings on Saturday. He had no reason to be. His control was erratic he walked the first batter of the game and hit the first guy he faced in the second. He wasn't fooling anyone. He couldn't even get on the same page with catcher Brian McCann. Only two double plays saved him and the Atlanta Braves from severe damage. "I told Mac that it wasn't going to be my greatest outing," Minor said. He was wrong. It was. Minor showcased his skill, determination and intelligence, demonstrating for a career-high 7 13 innings why the Braves have great hope in him. Minor was masterful after struggling through the first two innings against Milwaukee on Saturday. He settled down, found his control and a connection with McCann. He retired 18 consecutive batters at one point, crossing up batters with a mixture of fastball and changes, and working both sides of the plate to leave the Brewers befuddled in a 2-1 victory. "It's scary," McCann said. "He's competitive. He's a big-time athlete. He has a will to be great. "You don't know where this guy's ceiling's at." Minor was unflappable and more economical than a Toyota Prius. This wasn't anything like his 12-strikeout performance against the Cubs in 2010. This time, Minor threw pitches on the edges of the plate and allowed the Brewers to hit them at his teammates. There were only four strikeouts. He threw 62 pitches through five innings and 79 after six. The Brewers kept sending up batters and Minor kept setting them down. Eight in a row. Eleven in a row. Fourteen in a row. "I went deep in the game," Minor said. "I don't care about the strikeouts, as long as I'm getting guys out." He eventually retired 18 straight Brewers and left after one of his few mistakes, Jonathan Lucroy's one-out double in the eighth. His 99th pitch was one of his worst, a fastball right down the middle. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez immediately called for Jonny Venters as Minor received a standing ovation and high fives from his teammates. "He did everything," Gonzalez said. "He was really in command of that baseball game." Minor's performance did more than boost his confidence and value, it broke a dubious streak by Braves starters. They had been pitching like the sixth inning was the Great Wall of China. To them, it was impassable and impenetrable. For whatever reason, they hadn't retired a hitter in the sixth all season. Minor gave up two runs in the sixth in his first start, leading to his departure in a loss to the Mets on April 8. And on Friday night, Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, pitching with a five-run lead, gave up two runs in the sixth, sending him out of the game. Minor busted down that wall on Saturday, showing the promise that prompted the club to select him with the sixth overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, just six spots below Stephen Strasburg, who went No. 1 overall that year. One year after losing the fifth spot in the rotation to fellow rookie Brandon Beachy, Minor is fully entrenched this year. And it's not because he's the Braves' only lefty. "Mike hit his spots all night long with every thing he had," McCann said. "He continues to get better. I say that every time. It makes him fun to catch, fun to work with. You tell him one thing, he puts it into action, on the spot. He puts it into the game that day." Minor has had other strong starts in his short career. There was that strikeout-heavy game against Chicago in 2010. He shut out the Giants for six innings last August and held the Dodgers to one run in six innings just two weeks later. But there was something even more special about this one, especially coming off his first start of the season, when he gave up six runs in five-plus last week. "He did a helluva job commanding the strike zone with all of his pitches," Gonzalez said. "That's a sign of a guy who's maturing, who is getting comfortable in the major leagues."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Doc Rivers: Clippers have plan to let Paul Pierce retire as a Celtic

Another young 49er, Kaleb Ramsey, retires from NFL

Saints GM: Drew Brees’ contract situation is not a ‘distraction’

Tim Tebow: ‘I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in’

Olympic athletes warned about Rio's 'human crap' waters

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

T.J. Ward: Broncos defense doesn’t care who’s playing QB

Tokyo already dealing with rising costs for 2020 Olympics

Bears first-round pick Leonard Floyd carted off practice field

Report: Bills and Tyrod Taylor continue to talk extension

Report: Title contender planning to poach Curry from Warriors

Fitzpatrick on negotiations: I wouldn’t wish it on anybody

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

Cam Talbot thinks the Oilers are close to making the playoffs

The new era of WWE SmackDown has liftoff

Vlade Divac: Cousins ‘most dominant player in the world’

Wild offer to make Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' new goal song

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

Canucks don't dismiss acquiring player with past issues

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ordered to pay $900K to auction house

Six potential landing spots for Nick Foles

Jack Nicklaus puzzled by Tiger Woods' woes, golf absence

Brown responds to Marshall's high-stakes challenge

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker