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ATL@STL: Minor holds Cards to one run over seven

When Mike Minor takes the mound at Turner Field to face the Marlins on Saturday night, he'll look to continue a Braves winning streak he helped start less than a week ago.

In his most recent start last Sunday, Minor tossed seven innings of one-run ball as Atlanta avoided a sweep against St. Louis. Since then, the Braves have won five in a row, including Friday's series opener against the Marlins.

Minor allowed six hits and one walk en route to his 13th win of the season. It was his first start since he went just 1 2/3 innings in the shortest start of his career on Aug. 17, and it came after an extra three days' rest.

"I think any time you can give a pitcher [extra rest], especially at this point in the year, it's going to be beneficial," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I told him when he walked off, you didn't forget how to pitch. He competes every time out."

The Braves, who own the best record in baseball (82-52) and a comfortable 14-game cushion in the National League East, will take on the last-place Marlins, who will send out a pitcher looking for his first career win on the road.

Despite a respectable 3.57 ERA, Marlins right-hander Jacob Turner is 0-7 in 12 starts away from home. At Marlins Park on July 10, Turner beat the Braves with a two-run, seven-inning effort. When he pitched against Atlanta at Turner Field on Aug. 9, though, he gave up four earned runs on five hits and three walks in five innings.

Turner said he simply didn't make pitches against the Braves. Although he bounced back to give up just one earned to the Royals his next start, he's allowed six earned runs and 16 hits combined in his last two.

"For myself personally, things aren't clicking as smoothly as I'd like," Turner said after his start in Atlanta earlier this month. "It's something we've got to work on and get back to where we are clicking."

Saturday could mark one of Turner's final starts this season, as he's a candidate to be shut down around 170-180 innings. The 22-year-old righty has thrown 154 1/3 innings this year between his 16 starts for the Marlins and the time he spent with Triple-A New Orleans at the beginning of the year. Last season, Turner threw 166 2/3 total innings.

Marlins: Redmond searching for offensive answers
With Friday's loss to the Braves, the Marlins have lost five straight and nine of their last 10 games. They've been shut out twice in that stretch and have scored just a combined 15 runs.

The offensive woes are nothing new for Miami, which has scored 420 runs this season, 85 less than any other team in baseball. Manager Mike Redmond said a main problem has been the Marlins' inability to get multiple hitters hot at the same time. Recently, he's tried shaking up the lineup, moving Christian Yelich back into the leadoff spot on Friday after he batted third on Wednesday. Meanwhile, it was Giancarlo Stanton back in the three-hole.

"We'll keep mixing guys in and out to see if that helps us get a spark," Redmond said. "Ultimately, at the end of the day, guys have to go out there and do their job. I don't put a lot of stock in moving guys. They're all still [in the lineup]. They've got to do their job. I never really cared about where I hit in the order. I had to take every situation for what it was."

Braves: Club battles through bullpen issues
Gonzalez hopes Minor can put together a lengthy outing on Saturday, as the Braves' skipper is working with a bullpen that isn't quite full.

Closer Craig Kimbrel, who has 43 saves on the year -- including a run of 33 straight converted opportunities -- had the night off Friday after working four of the previous five days. Meanwhile, right-hander Jordan Walden hasn't pitched since Aug. 21 while he deals with a groin injury, leaving a lot of pressure on Luis Avilan and David Carpenter. Fortunately, Atlanta escaped with the win on Friday without having to use either of them, as Anthony Varvaro picked up the two-inning save.

"When one of your guys goes for whatever reason, the burden comes on somebody else, normally one of your good guys," Gonzalez said. "Maybe you push your starters a little bit because you're trying to protect somebody down there."

Worth noting
• Since he began his season on May 6 after missing the first month following offseason shoulder surgery, Brian McCann has hit 19 home runs for the Braves, more than any catcher in the Majors.

• The Braves are 9-4 against the Marlins this season, including a 4-3 mark at Turner Field.

• The Marlins have drawn 39 walks in the last 11 games, but none of those runners have come around to score. Comments