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Braves gain advantage at plate when Jays’ pitchers pick up bats in Atlanta

Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor heads rounds the bases after his two-run homer Saturday against the Mets.

Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor heads rounds the bases after his two-run homer Saturday against the Mets.

ATLANTA — The Braves got to use the designated hitter for the first time this season when they played the Blue Jays in Toronto on Monday, opening a spot in the lineup for Evan Gattis.

But the real advantage for the Braves may come when the Blue Jays have to play in Atlanta on Wednesday and Thursday without the DH.

The Braves starters can hit.

Well, at least for pitchers they can.

The Braves starters are batting .190 — best in the National League — and have three doubles, two homers and six RBI.

Leading the way is former Auburn University pitcher-outfielder Tim Hudson, who had a homer and a double the night he won his 200th game and has three RBI to go with his .286 average.

Next in line is rookie Julio Teheran, who is batting .278 with a double even after going 0-for-2 on Sunday night.

Then there is Mike Minor, the hero at the plate and on the mound the night before when the Braves won their eighth game in a row.

Minor hit a two-run homer in the 6-0 victory and struck out 10 while allowing just three hits over 7 1/3 innings.

Minor, who improved to 6-2 with a 2.42 ERA, came into the game with just two hits, but his blast against the Mets was no fluke. It cleared the fence with room to spare.

“I used to be a decent hitter in high school,” Minor said.

But the homer was his first since then. He didn’t bat once at Vanderbilt University and had been trying to regain his stroke since.

On the mound, the left-hander has been locked in since the middle of last season, though. In his past 25 outings, he is 13-6 with a 2.32 ERA and 21 quality starts.

Now that is even more impressing than any Braves pitcher’s hitting.