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Minor hurls eight frames of one-run ball

After a stellar July, rain put a damper on Mike Minor's first start in August.

The Braves lefty put up a 1.98 ERA and led the National League in opponents' batting average (.172) in four July starts, but his last start was cut short by bad weather. Minor threw 3 2/3 scoreless frames against the Marlins on Thursday before the rain kicked in.

The Braves hope that blip on the radar doesn't affect Minor's groove as he takes the mound Tuesday against the Phillies in the second of three games at Citizens Bank Park.

Tuesday will mark Minor's second start against Philadelphia this season. He tossed eight innings of one-run ball, struck out nine and walked none against the Phillies in his final July start.

"I wouldn't say it's confidence. It's just my demeanor on the mound and not allowing small things to get to me," Minor said after that start. "Things would snowball on me early in the season if I gave up a couple runs. Now it's just part of the game. If I give up one or two, we're still in the ballgame and I don't let it get carried away."

While Minor and the Braves, who have won 11 of their last 13 games, are trying to stay hot, the Phillies and left-hander Cole Hamels will try to get back on track and even the series.

In Hamels' last seven starts, the Phillies have just one win. The lefty is 1-3 with a 3.51 ERA during that span, with the one win coming July 15 against the Rockies. Hamels is 0-2 during his last two starts, and while he hasn't received much run support -- the Phillies have scored one total run between the two games -- Hamels hasn't been his sharpest on the mound, either. On July 27 against the Braves, the lefty walked a career-high six batters and threw more balls (56) than strikes (53) in a 6-1 loss.

"I tried to force the issue, but it didn't work," Hamels said after that start. "I'm hoping I don't have to do that ever again, but I'm going to have to learn from it and make those adjustments."

Braves: Six-man rotation a possibility
With Tommy Hanson nearing a return from the disabled list, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has not ruled out the idea of using a six-man rotation during the final two weeks of August. If the Braves were to utilize an extra pitcher in the starting rotation, it would leave them either down a man on the bench or in the bullpen.

Given the Braves' rotation and the fact that the team plays 20 games in as many days beginning Friday, Gonzalez believes his starters could use an extra day of rest between outings and might opt to go with the extra arm in the rotation.

"We can't consider it until we see where Tommy is at, but it makes a lot of sense," Gonzalez said.

Phillies: Halladay will finish out season
Philadelphia doesn't plan to shut down pitcher Roy Halladay for the rest of the season. The team made that much clear Monday.

Two days after Halladay fielded questions about possibly shutting it down this season given that he missed seven weeks with an injured right back muscle and the Phillies are all but out of playoff contention, manager Charlie Manuel shot down the idea.

"We're not thinking about doing that," Manuel said. "I don't have to answer that no more. He's not going to get shut down."

Worth noting
After Monday's series-opening defeat, the Phillies have lost seven straight games to the Braves.

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