ATLANTA — Mike Minor wasn’t sure if he will have another turn in the rotation, so he wanted to end the regular season impressively.
Minor pitched 6 1-3 sharp innings to win his fifth straight decision, Martin Prado and Jason Heyward each had an RBI and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 2-0 on Saturday night.
“I had a lot of nerves tonight,” he said. “I don’t think it was because of the crowd. It was like, ‘OK, this could possibly be my last start.’ I don’t know if I’ll start again. I might come out of the bullpen, where ever they need me.”
Chipper Jones, who played his next-to-last regular-season game at Turner Field, was hitless in four at-bats.
Craig Kimbrel earned his 41st save of in 44 chances with a scoreless but shaky ninth.
The Braves have won six of seven and 11 of 15, but they are four games behind Washington in the National League East with four games to play. Washington beat St. Louis 6-4 in 10 innings on Saturday night.
One more Washington victory or Atlanta loss will eliminate the Braves from the division race and they will host a wild-card playoff game next Friday.
“Tonight was a good team win because we had a lot of guys come out of the bullpen, Martin had a couple big hits, we played some defense,” Minor said. “We got the win tonight and also I’m not even anymore. I’ve got a winning record.”
In the ninth, leadoff batter Ruben Tejada reached against Kimbrel on second baseman Dan Uggla’s fielding error and advanced to second on a wild pitch before pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy flew out.
Kimbrel, one of the majors’ hardest throwers, hit David Wright in the groin area. The ball ricocheted off Wright and hit home-plate umpire Paul Nauert in the mask. Trainers had to tend to both Wright and Nauert, who both stayed in the game.
Kimbrel settled down to strike out pinch-hitter Ike Davis and Lucas Duda to end it.
Wright, who confirmed that an 88 mph slider hit him in a sensitive spot, was glad Kimbrel didn’t throw his fastball, which hit 100 mph two pitches earlier.
“I’m lucky that he hit me with a slider,” Wright said. “A fastball would’ve been a different story, obviously. Now I know what those catchers have to go through on a regular basis. I’ve got a little more respect for them now.”
Minor (11-10) allowed three hits, no walks and struck out four, leaving after Wright’s double in the seventh.
Chad Durbin got the second out of the inning on Scott Hairston’s flyout. Luis Avilan balked on his first pitch to Duda, advancing Wright to third, before Duda struck out.
Prado leads the NL and ranks second in the majors with 60 multi-hit games.
Atlanta went ahead 1-0 in the first when Prado hit a one-out double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Jason Heyward’s RBI groundout.
In the third, Andrelton Simmons lined a leadoff single to left, moved to second on Minor’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on Prado’s two-out RBI double off the wall in left-center.
Minor, who allowed just two singles through six innings, improved to 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA over his last four starts, a span of 31 innings. The left-hander is 5-0 in his last seven starts.
In six career starts against the Mets, Minor is 3-1 and with a 6.03 ERA over 31 1-3 innings.
“I think the turning point of his season was the game against the Yankees at home,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “He came out and attacked them and trusted his stuff. I think once he got through the Yankees and showed himself he can do that, he can get through anything.”
Chris Young (4-9) gave up seven hits, two runs and one walk with six strikeouts in six innings.