Looking to stay unbeaten against NL opponents, Minor tries for a sixth consecutive victory as the slumping Braves try to avoid a season-worst fifth consecutive loss Saturday against the visiting San Francisco Giants .
Already three wins away from matching his career high set last season, Minor (8-2, 2.44 ERA) has thrived in his fourth year in the majors. The left-hander, whose only two losses came against Kansas City and Detroit, is 7-0 with a 1.94 ERA over 10 starts against the NL.
Minor has been especially good over his last seven starts overall, going 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA while striking out 47 over 46 innings. He turned in another solid showing Sunday, allowing one run and six hits over six innings during an 8-1 road win over the Los Angeles Dodgers .
"It's just a friendly competition among everybody. You always want to top the guy before you," he said of the Braves' rotation, which ranks fifth in all of baseball with a 3.44 ERA.
Despite those impressive numbers, Atlanta is looking to create a spot in the rotation with Brandon Beachy ( Tommy John surgery) expected back soon. Originally on track to return Tuesday, Beachy will instead be held out a little bit longer after feeling some soreness.
Considered a candidate to move to the bullpen when Beachy returns, Kris Medlen was outpitched Friday by San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner , who combined with Sandy Rosario to three-hit Atlanta in a 6-0 win.
The Braves (39-28), who have totaled five runs in their last three games, have gone 4 for 25 with runners in scoring position during their skid. Jason Heyward was hitting .395 during a 10-game hitting streak before going 0 for 4 Friday.
"Right from the very beginning we go down 1-0 and they added some runs, which probably made (Bumgarner) even tougher to face," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Our bats didn't look very good."
The Giants (35-31), meanwhile, are heating up, plating 42 runs in their last six games after totaling eight in their previous six.
"We're coming up on the second half here," Bumgarner said. "If we want to make a playoff push, I think everybody knows it's time to turn it around."
San Francisco now turns to Chad Gaudin (2-1, 2.32), who's won both his starts since transitioning to the rotation. After allowing two runs and four hits over six innings during a 4-2 victory at St. Louis on June 2, Gaudin gave up two runs and five hits in six innings to beat Arizona 6-2 on Sunday.
Gaudin has struck out 12 during those outings while issuing one free pass, an intentional walk.
"It's letting the hitter know that you're not going to pitch around him," he told MLB's official website. "It makes for a better game."
Gaudin is 0-1 with a 7.78 ERA over 13 games - one start - versus Atlanta. He's had a rough time against Dan Uggla , who's 4 for 12 with two homers and a double in their matchups. Gaudin, though, has held the Upton brothers to a combined three hits in 28 at-bats.
Justin Upton is hitting .190 with just one homer and two RBIs over his last 16 games, and B.J. Upton is hitting a major league-worst .159 after going 0 for his last 8.
|San Francisco Giants|
|June 11, 2013||Marco Scutaro||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left hand injury|
|June 09, 2013||Pablo Sandoval||15-Day DL||Strained left foot|
|May 28, 2013||Angel Pagan||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 26, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Mild hamstring strain|
|May 21, 2013||Santiago Casilla||15-Day DL||Cyst on right knee|
|May 21, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||60-Day DL||Fractured right hand - out 6-8 weeks|
|May 29, 2013||Kris Medlen||Day-to-Day||Left game - left upper calf contusion|
|May 18, 2013||Eric O'Flaherty||15-Day DL||Left elbow surgery - out for season|
|May 13, 2013||B.J. Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left shoulder contusion|
|May 12, 2013||Jordan Walden||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|May 12, 2013||Jordan Walden||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|May 05, 2013||Juan Francisco||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Justin Upton has seen a lot of Sergio Romo and knew what pitches to look for - and what pitch to take.
Freddie Freeman didn't have that advantage, so he said he was just looking for anything to hit.
The strategies worked for each of the Braves' hitters in a ninth-inning comeback against the Giants' closer.
Upton drew a bases-loaded walk from Romo to force in the tying run and Freeman followed with a line-drive single off the closer to cap a two-run rally in the ninth that lifted Atlanta to a 6-5 win over San Francisco on Saturday.
"It's just nice to be able to come back," Freeman said. "We battled and to come back and get a win makes it nice."
B.J. Upton hit two homers off Chad Gaudin , but the Braves trailed 5-4 entering the ninth.
Romo (3-3) walked pinch-hitter Evan Gattis , who was replaced by pinch-runner Reed Johnson , with one out. Andrelton Simmons followed with a grounder that skipped past third baseman Joaquin Arias for an error, putting runners on first and second.
Jason Heyward followed with a liner that fell in front of left fielder Andres Torres , loading the bases.
Justin Upton , who came to Atlanta in an offseason trade from Arizona, where the Giants were a division rival, took a close 3-2 pitch for a ball to force in the tying run. The pitch, which had Upton backing away, was close to the inside part of the plate. Romo took a few steps toward the plate to express his disagreement.
"It was a close pitch but I obviously think it's a ball," Upton said. "Pitchers want that pitch. It went my way."
Added Upton: "I've seen him a few times so I know what to look for."
Asked about the 3-2 pitch, Romo said "It really doesn't matter what I think. The outcome of the game is already settled."
Romo said he didn't let the walk affect his concentration against Freeman.
"I was fine," he said. "I had to focus. We were still in the game. Although they tied the game we still had an opportunity to keep playing. You got to dig down deep right there and stay focused."
Romo threw Freeman two sliders - one ball and one strike - before trying to sneak a fastball past the big first baseman. The left-handed hitting Freeman turned on the pitch, lining the game-winning single to right field.
"I just put my foot down and swung when I saw the ball," Freeman said. "I don't look for anything. I just put my foot down and swing and hope for the best."
Romo took his third blown save in 19 opportunities.
Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (2-1) struck out Hunter Pence to end the ninth with runners on first and second. Pence drove in two runs.
Gaudin gave up four runs on eight hits in five-plus innings.
Pence had a run-scoring single in the Giants' three-run third inning and a sacrifice fly in a two-run fifth. The Giants had won three straight.
Braves starter Mike Minor gave up five runs, four earned, on seven hits and a walk in six innings.
San Francisco relievers Jean Machi , Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt combined for three scoreless innings before Romo gave up two runs, one earned, on two hits and two walks.
B.J. Upton's long second-inning homer landed about halfway up the lower section of the left-field seats.
Upton's two-run homer to center field in the sixth drove in Brian McCann , who doubled. The homer cut San Francisco's lead to 5-4 and knocked Gaudin out of the game.
Simmons committed two errors after beginning the day with only four miscues for the season. Simmons' fielding error on Tony Abreu 's grounder led to an unearned run in the fifth. Buster Posey followed with a run-scoring double that drove in Torres. Abreu scored on Pence's fly ball to right field.
Simmons made a wild throw after fielding an infield single by Juan Perez to open the sixth, but Minor pitched out of the jam.
The Giants took the lead in the third inning with three runs on four hits, including back-to-back RBI doubles by Torres and Abreu, who had three hits. Pence added a run-scoring single.
NOTES: The Braves will wait until after Sunday night's game to name a second pitcher to join Paul Maholm as the starters in Tuesday's doubleheader against the Mets. One possibility is rookie LHP Alex Wood , who was working as a starter for Double-A Mississippi before he was called up on May 30 to pitch out of the Braves' bullpen. ... RHP Brandon Beachy , recovering from 2012 elbow ligament-replacement surgery, had been on target to make his 2013 debut on Tuesday before having tenderness in the elbow. Beachy had a MRI on Saturday and said the test showed he has only inflammation and no structural damage. "I'm just going to get some rest and it will clear up," Beachy said. "I'm not worried about it at all." ... The series ends Sunday night when Braves RHP Julio Teheran faces Giants RHP Tim Lincecum .