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Minor outduels Dickey as Braves thump Jays

ATLANTA -- Mike Minor, the Atlanta Braves' new ace, is on a roll. The same can't be said for R.A. Dickey with the Toronto Blue Jays.

At least not a positive one.

Minor completed a 4-0 month of May with his 10th quality start in 11 games this season and the Braves pounded Dickey and the Blue Jays 11-3 on Thursday night for a split of their four interleague games.

Freddie Freeman smashed a home run, Evan Gattis and Ramiro Pena each had three hits and Reed Johnson belted a pinch-homer as the Braves banged out 16 hits while increasing their lead over Washington in the National League East to 5 -1/2 games.

Minor, 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA, allowed six hits and was charged with three runs -- two earned -- in seven innings, striking out five and walking none.

"I felt good again," the left-hander said. "That's a tough team."

Minor, a first-round draft choice in 2009 out of Vanderbilt, is 14-6 since last July.

"He's been tremendous," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, noting that Minor wouldn't have been scored on at all if a double-play ball hadn't been booted.

Dickey, meanwhile, is having trouble getting untracked with the Blue Jays after going 20-6 for the New York Mets last season and winning the National League Cy Young Award.

"This game's tough. It's hard," Dickey said. "But I'll find it. It's taken a while, but I'll find it."

The knuckleballer gave up 11 hits and six runs in six innings as his record fell to 4-7 and his ERA rose to 5.18. He has given up at least six runs in four of his 12 starts with the Blue Jays, including the past two.

"The temptation is to get in a mental funk," Dickey said. "Fortunately, I have some experience and know how to fight through it when things go bad."

Minor, who had allowed just three hits in 7 innings against the Mets in New York last Saturday, had pitched five more scoreless innings before the Blue Jays put up three tainted runs in the sixth to tie the score.

Dickey beat out an infield hit to start the inning and then usually sure-handed Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons booted what was potentially an inning-ending double play. Edwin Encarnacion drove in the first run with a single and Mark DeRosa made it 3-3 with a two-run double.

But the Braves scored three times on four hits against Dickey in the bottom of the inning. Pena had his second RBI hit of the game to break the tie and Jordan Schafer delivered a two-run single with two outs.

Once Dickey was out of the game, it got worse for the Blue Jays. The Braves scored three times in the seventh off Brad Lincoln and then in the eighth Johnson hit a two-run homer off Todd Redmond.

"It was good to put up some crooked numbers late," Gonzalez said.

The Braves, who were blanked on four hits by four Blue Jays pitchers Wednesday, had two hits and a run by the time Dickey had thrown five pitches. Schafer led off by bouncing a double over the head of DeRosa at third and scored on a single by Simmons.

Three singles produced another run in the second inning and Freeman picked on a first pitch from Dickey and pulled his fourth homer of the season into the right field seats in the third. It was the first baseman's second career homer against Dickey and made him 10 for 20 against him.

The Braves host Washington for a three-game series beginning Friday.

"It's still early, but it gives us confidence to be playing well and having a lead of them," Minor said.

Comments

kevin 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The big Atlanta "trades" failed to produce as usual.

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