A pitcher's duel between several pitchers on both sides resulted in a 1-1 tie for the Braves and Cardinals.
Mike Minor pitched five shutout innings against several Cardinals regulars, allowing two hits while walking two and striking out four. Only two of the outs he recorded were on the ground while eight were in the air, which is how he was scouted coming out of college.
Minor ran into trouble in the second, loading the bases on a Matt Holliday double and two walks with two outs. However, Holliday was left in scoring position through all three outs in the inning, and Minor got out of it with a flyout of Kyle Lohse. His only other hit allowed was a single to David Freese in the fourth. Otherwise, Minor was perfect, hitting his spots and getting through the Cardinals order with a fair amount of ease. That included a groundout and flyout by Albert Pujols.
Kenshin Kawakami allowed a run on three hits in two innings. The run came in the sixth in the form of a solo home run by Holliday. Kawakami allowed back-to-back singles to start the seventh, but after a sac bunt moved both into scoring position, Kawakami snagged a liner back at him for the second out, and a groundout ended the inning. Not the best outing for him, but it was his second and third innings of spring.
Juan Abreu pitched a perfect eighth, including a strikeout. Jairo Asencio pitched a perfect ninth with three flyouts. Stephen Marek allowed a single and a walk with one out in the 10th, but he got a groundout and strikeout to end the inning and game.
A day after hitting three home runs and scoring seven, the Braves managed just one run and two hits. One of the hits was a Chipper Jones double, his FIFTH this spring. The hit moved Nate McLouth to third following his leadoff walk, and McLouth scored on an error for the only run in the seventh. Chipper was left at third for three straight outs, all strikeouts by Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman and Alex Gonzalez.
The other hit was a leadoff single by Uggla in the fifth. He reached second base but was left there following a hard lineout by David Ross to end the inning. Matt Young walked in the ninth but was left on second following a strikeout by Brooks Conrad.
Despite just two hits as a team, McLouth managed to keep his on-base streak alive with a walk. Young added a walk in his only trip after replacing McLouth. Nothing else is worth reporting in a positive manner.
Freeman had a tough day, going 0-4 with three strikeouts. Martin Prado went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Uggla struck out twice. No replacement player reached base except Young.
I usually don't mention the opposition in spring games, but Lohse's performance is worth a mention. He allowed one hit and no runs in six innings, no walks and four strikeouts. Brian Tallet allowed the lone unearned run on the Chipper double and error, but he struck out the side to leave Chipper at third. Jason Motte, Ryan Franklin and Fernando Salas combined for three scoreless innings.
Pujols ended his day going 0-3 and remains hitless against the Braves this spring. Holliday went 2-3 with the home run and double.
Minor certainly deserves a nod for today's effort, shutting the Cardinals out for five innings. It's just another step toward solidifying the fifth spot.