STEVE OVERBEY, Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Mike Minor bounced back from the shortest outing of his career with seven strong innings and Andrelton Simmons homered to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Atlanta, which has the best record in the NL, broke a three-game losing streak and salvaged the final game of the four-game set.
St. Louis had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Minor (13-5) gave up one run on six hits. He struck out two and walked one. He was pitching on seven days rest after allowing four runs in 1 2-3 innings against Washington on Aug. 17.
Minor, who legged out an infield hit in the seventh, recorded his team-high 19th quality start.
Simmons hit his 12th homer of the season, a solo shot in the seventh that gave the Braves a 4-1 lead.
Craig Kimbrel came on with two out in the eighth and picked up his 41st save in 44 opportunities. It was his first four-out save of the season.
Atlanta jumped on St. Louis starter Lance Lynn (13-8) early with one run in the first and two in the second. Lynn (Ole Miss), who has not won since Aug. 4, gave up four runs on nine hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.
The Braves needed just six pitches to jump in front. Schafer led off the game with a triple and came in on a run-scoring single by Elliot Johnson.
Gerald Laird and Joey Terdoslavich, getting spot starts, each singled to start the second. Paul Janish followed with an RBI single. Schafer then pushed the lead to 3-0 with a double, marking the first time in his career he tripled and doubled in the same game.
The three runs over the first two innings matched the Braves’ total in their previous two games,
St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter had two hits pushing his league-leading total to 157. He doubled in the sixth and scored on a ground out by Matt Holliday, who has an RBI in his last five games.
The Braves won for the first time since outfielder Jason Heyward suffered a broken jaw on Wednesday in New York. Heyward, who was hit by a pitch from Jonathon Niese, will be out four to six weeks.
Notes: Minor is 6-5 in 17 starts with over six days rest. … The Cardinals will play their next 13 games NL Central rivals Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. … Atlanta opens a nine-game homestand on Tuesday with a three-game series against Cleveland. LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 2.50) will face Danny Salazar (1-1, 3.52) in the opener. St. Louis plays host to Cincinnati on Monday in the start of a three-game series. Tyler Lyons (2-4, 5.09) takes on Mike Leake (11-5, 3.12). … Atlanta is 7-7 since ending a 14-game winning streak on Aug. 10.