Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) is shown hitting a drive against the Marlins in Wednesday's 8-4 loss.
ATLANTA — Struggling Mike Minor still has the support of Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez and his spot in the Braves rotation despite being pummeled in four straight starts.
Minor had another tough outing Wednesday night, giving up six runs in the Miami Marlins’ 8-4 win.
Minor (2-3) lasted only 4 2-3 innings in the fourth straight start he has allowed six or more runs. He gave up three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth, leaving his ERA at 7.09.
Gonzalez said he is sticking with the 24-year-old Minor.
“I thought the first three innings, he did whatever he wanted through that lineup,” Gonzalez said, adding “and then it unravels on him. It’s a little complex.
“You feel like he’s getting it and all of a sudden those types of innings happen to him. … But that’s a young pitcher. We have to be patient with him and get him through those types of innings. I think he’ll be better off at the other end, when he gets through those innings.”
Minor was 5-3 with a 4.14 ERA in 14 starts as a rookie in 2011. He has 27 earned runs in his last four starts.
“I’m still a young pitcher,” Minor said. “It’s still a learning curve. You can’t expect to go out there and be an All-Star. But I also have high standards for myself. It doesn’t feel great to go out there and pitch like that.”
If Minor’s struggles continue, possible options for the Braves include Livan Hernandez and Kris Medlen, who could move from the bullpen, and Julio Teheran at Triple-A Gwinnett.
“I don’t necessarily want to go out there every fifth day and have people look at me as are we going to have another game like we did last week, you know?” Minor said. “Or, are we going to have to score a lot of runs this week because Minor’s on the mound?”
Miami right fielder Giancarlo Stanton sparked the Marlins with his glove and his bat. He had the biggest hit of the game — a two-run homer — and saved at least two runs with a diving catch.
The surging Marlins are 12-3 this month after a slow 8-14 start in April. Miami (20-17) moved three games over .500 for the first time this season.
The Marlins led 6-1 off Minor before Atlanta scored three runs off Mark Buehrle in the sixth. Stanton’s eighth homer, which drove in Kearns after his second double, pushed the lead to 8-4 in the seventh.
Buehrle (3-4) gave up four runs on six hits in six innings with the win in the first meeting of the season between the NL East rivals.
Austin Kearns and Emilio Bonifacio each had two hits and drove in two runs. Omar Infante had two hits and scored two runs.
Stanton turned in the defensive play of the game to keep the Braves at bay.
With Miami leading 3-1 in the fourth, the Braves had runners on second and third with two outs following singles by Dan Uggla and Brian McCann. Jason Heyward hit a drive that looked like a sure two-run double before Stanton, running at full speed toward the foul line, made a diving catch. Stanton landed about one foot in front of the warning track.
“You make a play like that, it’s kind of like you hit a home run to win the game,” said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. “It’s the same thing.”
Stanton said at first he didn’t realize how hard Heyward hit the ball. “I just put my head down and ran to a spot and dove for it,” he said.
On Tuesday night, Stanton robbed Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones with a leaping catch before hitting the right-field wall.
Stanton said the catch of Heyward’s line drive was bigger.
“This one was way better than the one last night,” Stanton said. “This one saved two runs. The other one was just a good catch.”
Kearns had a two-run double in the Marlins’ three-run fourth. Minor was knocked out of the game after giving up three hits, including a run-scoring single by Gaby Sanchez, in the fifth. Bonifacio added his second RBI single of the game off reliever Cristhian Martinez.
Rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky hit leadoff for the first time as Gonzalez rested centerfielder Michael Bourn.
Pastornicky, the normal No. 8 hitter, led off the first with a single, moved to third on Martin Prado’s double and scored on Freddie Freeman’s groundout to first base.
Buehrle retired 10 straight batters after the double by Prado, who had three hits.
Heath Bell pitched the ninth in a non-save situation for Miami.
Notes: Heyward made his first career start in centerfield. … The Marlins’ record for wins in May is 16 in three seasons, most recently 2008. … Bourn popped out to left field as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. … Freeman returned after missing one game with a scratch on his right eye. … RHP Ricky Nolasco will attempt to take sole possession of the Marlins’ record for career wins when he faces RHP Brandon Beachy (4-1), who leads the major leagues with his 1.60 ERA, on Thursday night. Nolasco (4-1) is tied with Dontrelle Willis at 68 wins.