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Minter makes history in first career start

@mlbbowman
October 17, 2020

Former closer A.J. Minter dazzled in his first career start -- in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, no less -- before the Braves' bullpen plan unraveled later in a 7-3 loss to the Dodgers on Friday night at Globe Life Field.

Former closer A.J. Minter dazzled in his first career start -- in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, no less -- before the Braves' bullpen plan unraveled later in a 7-3 loss to the Dodgers on Friday night at Globe Life Field.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 12 ATL 5, LAD 1 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 13 ATL 8, LAD 7 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 14 LAD 15, ATL 3 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 15 ATL 10, LAD 2 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 16 LAD 7, ATL 3 Watch
Gm 6 Oct. 17 LAD 3, ATL 1 Watch
Gm 7 Oct. 18 LAD 4, ATL 3 Watch

“I hate that I’m the guy who ruined it for him,” Braves reliever Will Smith said. “But what he did tonight was awesome.”

Before Smith surrendered a decisive three-run homer to the Dodgers' Will Smith in the sixth inning, Minter worked three scoreless innings, striking out seven and allowing just one hit, a two-out double by Justin Turner in the first. The seven strikeouts were the most by a pitcher in a postseason outing of three innings or fewer.

By starting in Game 5, Minter became the first player in MLB history to make his first career start in the postseason.

“To tell you the truth, we got an inning more or an inning and a half more than I thought we’d get out of him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Snitker called Minter around 10:30 a.m. CT on Friday to inform him he would be making the start. The lefty hadn’t started a game since tearing his left ulnar collateral ligament during his junior year at Texas A&M.

But Minter was more than up for the challenge. His three innings and 42 pitches both represented career highs, and he outlasted Dodgers starter Dustin May, who allowed two runs in two innings.

“I wasn’t sure how long they were going to leave me in there,” Minter said, “but I was glad I was able to go as deep as I did and help the bullpen as much as I could.”

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.