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MIL@ATL: Minor allows two runs over 6 2/3 innings

Since Braves left-hander Mike Minor made his season debut on May 2, the popular way to score against him is via the home run. Half of the 10 earned runs Minor has given up in his four starts this year have ended up in the outfield seats.

Enter the Rockies, who lead the National League with 63 homers this season. Despite what may seem like a match made in heaven, Colorado is wary of Minor, who has pitched six innings or more in 35 of his past 39 starts.

"He changes speeds; he's deceptive," Michael Cuddyer said of Minor. "A good young pitcher that's not afraid of situations. He'll go at you and pitch with his stuff, so he's tough. He's one of the better ones in the league, for sure."

After a disastrous turn against the Cardinals on May 7 at Turner Field, Minor has given up only two earned runs on eight hits in his past two starts, striking out 11 batters and walking only four as he has logged 6 2/3 innings in each outing.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is confident that Atlanta will see more outings like Minor's scoreless outing in San Francisco on May 13 and fewer like his rough day against the Cardinals.

"This is what we saw from him last year," Gonzalez said following Minor's first victory of 2014. "Hopefully, he can keep giving us these kind of quality starts."

Meanwhile, Rockies hurler Juan Nicasio is due for a quality start. The right-hander has alternated between quality starts and non-quality starts like clockwork so far this season. Colorado hopes the trend will hold true as Nicasio surrendered a season-high nine hits in six innings on Sunday against the Padres.

The Rockies hope to see the Nicasio who gave up only three hits in seven innings against the Mets on May 1 at Coors Field. For Nicasio, that boils down to command.

"I threw a lot of sliders for strikes," Nicasio said following his gem against New York. "But today I was good because I had command of my fastball first, down in the zone. When I'm pitching well, I have command of my fastball down."

Braves: B.J. enjoying successful homestand
• You can't spell B.J. Upton without OBP (on-base percentage) -- at least during Atlanta's current run at Turner Field. Upton has reached base nine times in 20 plate appearances since the Braves began a nine-game homestand on Monday against the Brewers.

Upton is batting .267 (4-for-15) with a home run, a double, five walks, a strikeout and a .450 on-base percentage in his past 20 plate appearances. His batting average has risen from .203 to .209 and his OBP has climbed more than 10 points.

• Craig Kimbrel struck out the side on Friday night to record saves on back-to-back days for the first time since April 25-26. His perfect ninth also resulted in career save No. 152, which trails John Smoltz's franchise record by only two.

Rockies: Arenado suffers fracture in left finger
• Third baseman Nolan Arenado suffered a mallet fracture on the dorsal side of his left middle finger while sliding into second base in Friday night's 3-2 loss to the Braves at Turner Field. The injury will sideline him for at least a month.

Arenado will meet with orthopedic surgeon Thomas Graham at the Cleveland Clinic when the Rockies travel to Cleveland to play the first of three games against the Indians to begin the third and final leg of their current road trip on May 30.

"He's got a fractured finger, so he's going to miss some time," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "That's tough news for our club. He was off to a great start."

• Weiss kept outfielder Carlos Gonzalez out of the lineup for a second consecutive day on Friday as Gonzalez experienced swelling in his left middle finger on Wednesday. Gonzalez is day to day.

Worth noting
• Arenado's second-inning double was his 17th this season, putting him in second place behind Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe (18) for the most by a third baseman in the Majors this season.

• B.J. and Justin Upton both swiped bases on Friday night, marking the second time this season that the brothers have both stolen a base in the same game. They also accomplished the feat on May 2 against San Francisco. Comments