Mike Minor loses his no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth

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Update (9:52 PM): Minor was so close. Kris Negron flied out to right field for the first out of the eighth inning. Zack Cozart then drew a walk, and pinch-hitter Chris Heisey grounded out weakly to third base for the second out of the inning. Billy Hamilton ended Minor’s no-hit bid with a weakly-hit blooper to shallow center field. With 107 pitches under Minor’s belt, manager Fredi Gonzalez came out to the mound for the baseball, ending the lefty’s night.

Update (9:29 PM): Minor keeps the no-hitter in tact through seven frames. Devin Mesoraco lined out to start the inning. Minor then struck out Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick consecutively to end the seventh. Minor will enter the eighth inning at 89 pitches.

Braves starter Mike Minor has the good stuff working tonight in Cincinnati against the Reds. The left-hander has held the Reds hitless through six innings. Minor hasn’t been perfect, though, as he has walked three.

Minor’s opponent, Mat Latos, also enjoyed good results on the evening. The right-hander allowed one run on nine hits and a pair of walks while striking out three over six innings. He exited after the sixth having thrown 95 pitches.

Minor, 26, has had a tough season, entering the night with a 5.16 ERA in 111 2/3 innings across 19 starts. The Reds, however, are on a six-game losing streak and have posted a team-wide .643 OPS in 13 games since August 8.

We’ll keep you updated as Minor attempts to record the final nine outs of the game without allowing a hit.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.