On the Braves’ four-run first inning
“We put a big number up. How ‘bout the at-bat that Francisco gave Garza in that inning? I don’t think he ever recovered from that. I think he ended up throwing 80, 90 pitches in four innings. And then he [Francisco] did it again his second at-bat. And then a home run there at the end to cap it off. That’s good to see. I like the way we scored runs at the beginning of the game and put pressure on.
“Mikey went out there and shut ‘em down. He got better, for me, as the game went on. Only walked two guys, gave up three hits, and punched out the last guy he faced in the seventh. Real good outing on his part.”
On Minor recovering from the homer, then striking out LeHair with two on in 7th
“We had a little cushion to work with, I think it was a five-run lead at that point. You want him to … he gave up a base hit and walk with none out that inning. For him to get LeHair out there was a big turning point for him. I think this is his second outing that’s pretty decent for him. He goes into the All-Star break feeling pretty good about himself, and maybe come out the other side with some momentum.”
On Simmons (at first base) going on every foul ball in Francisco’s 16-pitch at-bat in 1st
“T.P. was … what are you going to do? I’m glad he’s 22. I’m glad it wasn’t Chipper out there running those springs. But it really was a helluva an at-bat, [Francisco’s] first two at-bats against him.”
Rough homestand, does winning last won at least make it a little better before heading to Philly?
“It puts us at .500 for the homestand, 5-5. Obviously you want to be better than that. We had some opportunities to be better than that. We didn’t, but we’ll take .500 right now, the way things are going. But now we need to go get Huddy to give us a good performance in Philly and carry it on all the way to the All-Star break.”
On four-run lead in 1st making his job easier
“Definitely. I just tried to throw strikes. There for a while I was trying to over-throw and I kept going 2-0, 3-0. It wasn’t because I was trying to nip around the corners or anything, obviously, with a 4-nothing lead. It was more just trying to go after hitters, and I think I was over-throwing.”
Do anything differently today than last few starts, to keep it together the whole way? All pitches working today?
“We didn’t really use a whole lot of sliders. More curveball, change, and fastball. We threw maybe three or so [sliders]. Other than that, I was just trying to hit spots. We got the lead early.”
Changeup has been sketchy lately; it was working today?
“It was OK. It worked at nights. Got a couple of pop-outs, maybe one or two groundballs.”
To come back from the home run, also get the LeHair strikeout, type of innings that have sometimes gotten away from you…
“I wasn’t really worried about the home run. I was trying to throw strikes. Basically Mac was setting up down the middle and I was trying to hit his glove.”
For confidence, how important was this start going into All-Star break for second half?
“It’s pretty much the same question every week. Every week it’s trying to get better. Throughout the week, throwing bullpens, sides, trying to work with Roger and some of the other veteran pitchers, see what kind of information they give me. Every week I’m just trying to get better.”
You guys gave Minor a big lead in first inning and he knew what to do with it today
“Yeah, we came out and had some good ABs early and basically the whole game. Garza settled in there for a minute, and then they brought some relievers in that were making their pitches here and there. But overall it was great to give him a lead and give us a lead.”
How about some of the at-bats in the first inning, specifically Francisco’s?
“How many was it, 16 [pitches] someone said? That’s awesome. And then he saw, what, 12 the next time up? And he hit a homer. So he had a great game. Kind of got Garza tired there with all those pitches. You need stuff like that to get to the bullpen.”
Can a start like this help Minor mentally, going to the break?
“Absolutely. This is a confidence builder. He made his pitches when he needed to. He had a no-hitter going to the fifth. He pitched well.”
How about you, been hitting some balls hard and today got something to show for it
“It’s good to finally be in a good spot, going up to the plate thinking you’re going to get a hit. When you get in the box and you’re struggling and you look out at the pitcher and you know it’s going to be tough to get a knock [hit], that’s a tough feeling to have.”
On the homestand
“We had an OK homestand, ended it on a good note. Now we need to go to Philly and take care of business.”