ATLANTA -- Mike Minor struggled to command both his fastball and secondary pitches on the way to surrendering a career-high seven runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Pirates on Monday night. But Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez still opted to send the young left-hander back to the mound to start the seventh inning with a three-run deficit and his pitch count at 99.
"He competed," Gonzalez said, before explaining that he and pitching coach Roger McDowell wanted to see if Minor could gain some confidence by ending his rocky outing with a strong inning.
Minor was also due to bat third in the bottom of the seventh, but after issuing a leadoff walk and recording an out on a bunt, he saw his 107-pitch evening come to a close. The 24-year-old southpaw did not throw more than 100 pitches in any of his 15 big league starts last year.
But he has surpassed the century mark in three of his first five starts this year and threw a career-high 117 pitches against the D-backs on April 19.