On the game coming apart late
“I can’t explain it to you other than we lost two balls in the sun. In the eighth inning they’ve got a 1-nothing lead and we walk the leadoff guy. Could have gotten out of that inning with maybe no runs. It’s still first and third, if we don’t drop that ball in in the sun … Kemp’s ball to center might still have gotten that guy in from third.”
“When you give a team outs, or opportunities, by losing balls in the sun or losing fly balls, that kind of stuff, or walking people, it seems like it’s written in the rule book someplace that sooner or later somebody’s going to hit a ball in the gap and put a big inning on you. And that’s what they did. We gave them opportunities and they took advantage of them.”
On Minor’s performance
“I thought he was outstanding. Got into some jams early and wiggled out of that, and it’s nice to see the maturity and experience kicking in, where he can get out of those jams. He did terrific. Right now he’s one of those guys that it seems like there’s always one guy in every rotation that doesn’t get any run support. And he seems to be the guy. And I don’t know what he needs to do. Just keep pitching the way he’s been pitching and hopefully one of these starts down the road, our guys will get some runs for him.”
Did you consider letting him continue pitching in the eighth?
“He went back out, and we were looking for a matchup situation. And we got the matchup that we wanted with Durbin and Urbine. We took advantage of it. [But] that’s the inning that we walked the leadoff guy and got the sun ball and all that kind of stuff.”
On getting almost no offense past two days
“They’re up there with their pitching, that’s why they’re battling for first place. Their pitching’s pretty good, our pitching’s pretty good. We just gave them opportunities to score runs and they took advantage. The opportunities they gave us, we didn’t take advantage of them. It’s just one of those things. Go on to Washington and hopefully our bats will get going. But again, I’m ecstatic with the way Mike pitched, not only today but the last three or four or five starts.”
Situational hitting not very good this weekend
“Sometimes it’s easier said than done. We talk about getting guys over and getting guys in, but the opposition’s pitchers are still trying to get you out, and they’ve got a pretty good pitching staff. Got to give those guys a little credit. But we’ve got to do a little better job scoring runs or creating big innings.”
On the Nats series, pitching matchups
“We’ve got our three guys lined up with Huddy and Paul and Medlen, and we’ve got to face some of their [top] guys. So it’s going to be fun. We get a chance to close the gap a little bit, make it a little bit closer, and go from there.”
On Cruz and not Kemp beating them this series
“You go into a series like this one and the guy you look for is Kemp. And I don’t think Kemp got a hit, or maybe one hit the whole series.But you’ve got to face eight guys, and Cruz took advantage of hitting back there in the seventh or eighth whole and cherry-picking us. He really took advantage of us.”
On working out of bases-loaded jam in the third
“It was a big inning. I really needed to get a groundball. I shook to the change-up there because I wanted something soft on the ground. I knew if I made a quality pitch there low-and-away, hopefully we’d get that groundball. And we did.”
Four times in your past eight starts, Braves haven’t scored while you were in
“That’s just part of it. I feel like they’ve battled their asses off out there. Especially today. I only had two strikeouts, so there was a lot of defense out there, a lot of balls. Jason fighting the sun, there’s nothing you can do about that.
“[Run support] is just kind of one of those things. Cliff Lee went through a little of that early in the season. I’m just going to go out there and keep pitching.”
On feeling strong after seven innings
“I honestly thought I was going to go out there and pitch the eighth. And then they made their move and we made our move. It was just kind of strategizing from there.”
On facing the Nats
“Oh yeah, they’re a good team. They give themselves a chance to win every game. They’ve got five legit starters, with two No. 1’s. So, hey, you’ve got to go out there and be ready to play against them. They’re not going to give in. They want to win just as bad as we want to win. We we’ve just got to continue to play good baseball. I’m not going to say we had a bad series; we battled but we lost this series. Sometimes that happens. The thing with baseball is, you’ve got to play the next day. So we’ll be ready to play tomorrow.”
On losing two of three
“They beat us this series, nothing we can make excuses about. Hands down, they got us. We’ll go in and be ready to play against the Nationals.”
On the sun, was it bad for you in center or just in right field for Heyward?
“No, just for J. It was bad on him. Actually when I ran over there the last time I could see how bad it was. When it’s like that its tough to do anything. He stayed in there as long as he could without getting hit. And we don’t need him to get hit. [laughs.] That’s all he can do. The ball falls that way sometimes. But we’ll be back tomorrow.
“I’ve had that happen to me and got hit right in the mouth. I stayed in there a little bit too long.”
On losing ball(s) in sun
“At this time of year the sun’s right there. The ball stayed in it, twice unfortunately, and they were able to capitalize.”
Had sunglasses on and everything
“Yeah, the second one I tried to stay there as long as I could to try to get on the side of it, but it kept going that way. Not anything else I could do.”
On getting past the bad feelings on a day like this
“What helps you get past it is, you’ve got a game tomorrow. Today doesn’t matter after today. New series tomorrow in D.C. Go out and try to win another ballgame.”
On facing the Nats, importance of series
“It is what it is. If they win [Sunday] we’re five back. Every series that we play against the Nationals is of the utmost importance. We need to go up there and win the series. Not to say if we lose two out of three it’s over. But we certainly, whenever we get the opportunity to go against those guys head-to-head, we need to take advantage and, at the very least, win the series and not get to the point in the season where we put so much pressure on ourselves that we have to go in and sweep.”
On losing series to Dodgers
“We’re not swinging the bats real well right now. But sometimes you’ve got to give a little credit to the guys out there on the mound. Their pitching is tough. Last night was a little more disappointing for me, for the simple fact that left 11 guys on base – we had opportunities last night and didn’t cash them in. Today, Billingsley and their bullpen pitched very well.
“Mikey [Minor] pitched very well. There’s a lot of good things to take away from it. But we’re definitely going to have to start swinging the bats a little better.”
On Minor getting no run support again
“Yeah, and even though it goes as a loss for Mikey Minor, as an organization we look at it positively that he’s evolving and turning into that middle-of-the-rotation guy that we need from the left side, to hopefully continue to get better. Hopefully next year these guys will score some runs for him. Not we, they.”
Intend to to play all three vs. Nationals?
“Yeah, I do. My knee’s been bugging me pretty good the last couple of days. Last night was real bad, so today was a no-brainer. That was the thought process, to get this last day before we go up there, in hopes that I can play all three [at Washington].”