Minor makes impression, baffles Cards in tie

Minor makes impression, baffles Cards in tie

Minor makes impression, baffles Cards in tie
JUPITER, Fla. -- A pitchers' duel ended in a 1-1 tie on Monday as the Braves' Mike Minor and the Cardinals' Kyle Lohse traded zeros at Roger Dean Stadium.

Matt Holliday gave St. Louis a short-lived lead when he drilled his second home run of the spring. Holliday golfed an 0-2 pitch from Kenshin Kawakami deep to left field, well over the fence and almost to the wall of the Marlins' offices beyond left field.

An inning later, though, Atlanta responded with an unearned run against lefty Brian Tallet. Nate McLouth drew a leadoff walk, and Chipper Jones followed with a double to left field. When John Jay's relay throw from left field went awry, pinch-runner Matt Young scored the tying tally.

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Both starters were superb.

Atlanta's Minor, contending for the club's fifth-starter job, pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks. He struck out four and escaped from a bases-loaded jam in the second inning.

"I threw better than I felt, I guess," Minor said. "Early on, I had a lot of high strikes, up at the belt and was lucky to get them in. Later on I was getting a little bit better."

Lohse had even more success. Lohse tossed six innings of one-hit ball without issuing a walk. He struck out four. Lohse needed a mere 61 pitches to record 18 outs, 43 of which were strikes.

"I feel good about the way the spring is going so far, but that's what it is: spring," Lohse said. "It was obviously a good, stat-wise, outing. But the main thing was that I located my pitches where I wanted to and got ahead of guys."

The Cardinals threatened in the bottom of the 10th inning, but were unable to push across the winning run when Stephen Marek struck out Nick Stavinoha with runners on second and third to end the game.

Up Next for Braves: The Braves will unleash the back end of their revamped bullpen against the Cardinals on Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium. Closer Craig Kimbrel and shutdown lefty Jonny Venters are both slated to pitch in the last of four matchups between the two clubs this spring. Scott Proctor is also slated to pitch in relief of starter Derek Lowe. Jason Heyward, who has missed three games due to back discomfort, could return to the starting lineup for Atlanta.

Up Next for Cardinals: Kyle McClellan's next chance to impress comes on Tuesday when he faces the Braves in his third start of the spring. McClellan has allowed one run in seven innings over his first two outings, strengthening his lead in the chase to be the Cardinals' fifth starter. The right-hander, who has relieved for St. Louis for the past two years, is a heavy favorite to win that job.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.