Mike Minor homers, throws 7.1 scoreless in Braves’ eighth straight win

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Starter Mike Minor tossed seven and a third scoreless innings tonight as the Braves shut out the Mets 6-0. The lefty struck out ten and walked two, and even hit a home run in support of himself — a two-out, two-run shot off of Mets starter Dillon Gee, sparking what ended up being a five-run fifth inning. Minor’s effort tonight is the fourth consecutive start in which he has gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs. His ERA was lowered to 2.45, the best mark in the Braves’ starting rotation and moves him ahead of Cliff Lee for the eighth-best ERA among National League starters.

The Braves notch their eighth consecutive victory and their second today as the Braves had resumed a game, paused last night due to rain, defeating the Mets 7-5 in ten innings earlier. The two wins today bump the Braves up to 30-18, 5.5 games ahead of the Nationals and 6.5 ahead of the Phillies.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.