PHILADELPHIA (AP) - All it took was one mistake for one of Mike Minor's best outings of the season to turn into a loss.
Cody Asche hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Cliff Lee outdueled fellow left-hander Minor as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1 on Friday night.
``It was just a brain lapse,' Minor said. ``I threw one over the plate.'
Asche, who was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 31, certainly made Minor pay for the mistake with his fourth homer of the season. The rookie third baseman is 7 for 11 with five RBIs in his last three games, and boosted his average to .287 despite starting out his major league career on a 1-for-17 streak.
In his first time facing the Phillies this season, Minor (13-6) allowed four hits and two earned runs in seven innings, striking out nine and walking one.
``That was a real tough loss for Minor the way he was pitching,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``Asche got him in the seventh but it was a real good pitching matchup.'
After surrendering a homer to Andrelton Simmons leading off the third inning, Lee (12-6) didn't allow a hit through eight innings. He finished with 10 strikeouts without a walk, giving up just two hits.
Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 25th save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
``Lee is one of the top pitchers in the majors,' Gonzalez said. ``If he's on, it's going to be a tough night.'
Lee, who had allowed eight runs combined in his previous two starts against the Braves, was also backed up by some impressive defensive plays.
In the sixth inning, second baseman Chase Utley made a sprawling catch to rob Justin Upton of a base hit. And two innings before that, center fielder Cesar Hernandez ran a long way to track down a shot in the gap from Evan Gattis.
In the seventh, Braves catcher Brian McCann hit a towering fly to right field that was hauled in at the warning track.
``We all knew coming in, it was going to be a pitchers' duel,' McCann said. ``It was like we all thought it would be.'
Of the three hits the Braves mustered on the night, the biggest was Simmons' solo blast in the third. It was the 14th homer of the season for Simmons and the league-leading 161st for the Braves.
Simmons also made a big defensive play at shortstop, going deep in the hole and firing a rocket to first to nab the speedy Jimmy Rollins to end the sixth.
Rollins got the Phillies' first hit of the game with a bloop single to lead off the fourth but was thrown out trying to extend it into a double. No Phillie got into scoring position until Asche's homer in the seventh.
``I felt like I threw a lot of quality pitches and it was really one of my best games of the year,' Minor said. ``And Lee was going after guys. I feel like if I'm going to be pitching in the playoffs, I've got to step up and win this game.'
NOTES: At 2 hours and 14 minutes, Friday's game marked the shortest nine-inning game for the Phillies this season. ... The Braves dipped to 34-35 on the road this season. They are 51-20 at home. ... Atlanta had won eight of its last 10 and was 29-10 in their last 39 games before Friday's loss. ... Eight of Simmons' last nine hits have gone for extra bases. ... Atlanta's Alex Wood (3-3) opposes Kyle Kendrick (10-12) on Saturday.
The Associated Press News Service
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