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Minor retires 18 straight in one-hit stint06/05/2011 10:44 PM ET
By Josh Jackson / Special to MLB.com
The final score might indicate otherwise, but the Gwinnett Braves were three outs away from a one-hit shutout Sunday on the strength of eight dominant innings from Mike Minor.
The heralded Atlanta southpaw started off with six perfect frames and surrendered just a single and a walk over the next two innings in the Triple-A Braves' 7-5 victory over the Buffalo Bisons. He collected nine strikeouts in the gem.
Minor (3-2) entered the season as MLB.com's No. 21 prospect and has made three starts for Atlanta this season. Most recently, he held the Padres to three runs over six innings on a May 31 outing. He's expected to return to the Braves on June 11, when Atlanta next needs a fifth starter.
With the win, Minor's 2011 ERA in the International League dropped to 2.23, which puts him second on the circuit behind Durham's Alex Cobb, who has a 1.14 mark.
"That's the best I've felt and obviously, the results were there," Minor told the Gwinnett Daily Post. "I had command of all three of my pitches."
After retiring the first 18 hitters, Minor issued a four-pitch walk to Luis Figueroa leading off the seventh. He fanned Kirk Nieuwenhuis before surrendering a broken-bat single to Valentino Pascucci but got out of the inning by fanning Lucas Duda and getting Jason Botts on a dribbler to second base.
"I don't think I've ever gone that long without allowing a baserunner," Minor said.
The 23-year-old Vanderbilt product threw 15 pitches in a 1-2-3 eighth and left for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the frame. He threw 99 pitches, including 69 strikes.
The Bisons jumped on reliever Jose Lugo for five runs -- four earned -- on four hits and a walk to start the ninth. Jairo Asencio came on and snuffed the Buffalo comeback effort by inducing a groundout and a double play.
Brandon Hicks homered and plated five runs and Stefan Gartrell hit his third home run in two days for the G-Braves.