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ATL@STL: Minor holds Cards to one run over seven

After topping the Mets in a three-game series earlier this week, the first-place Braves will hit the road on Friday to take on another National League East foe with similar status in the division.

With the Mets taking the series finale in Atlanta during the day on Wednesday and the Phillies losing to the Nationals that night, New York snuck a game in front of Philadelphia for third place in the standings. The Phillies have dropped four of five.

Both teams remain more than 20 games behind the first-place Braves, whose magic number to win the division (10) is the lowest in baseball.

Left-hander Cliff Lee will take the mound for the Phils in the opener looking to extend a recent hot stretch. After a rough patch in July and August, he has a 2.91 ERA in his past five games, though he did give up nine hits and three runs in five innings against the Cubs on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

"I feel like I had to battle," Lee said. "It seemed like they had a lot of long at-bats and grinded me out and saw a bunch of pitches and battled. … I feel like [my stuff] was OK. I feel like I wasn't commanding the ball as well as I would like, and they just had some tough at-bats."

Lee will square off against southpaw Mike Minor, who has had trouble with the long ball at times this year. Minor gave up a pair of opposite-field homers -- just his second and third allowed since the All-Star break -- and took a no-decision in his seven-inning start against the Marlins on Saturday.

Atlanta has won eight of its past 10. The Braves are 29-10 over their past 39 contests.

Braves: Quality control
Atlanta's starting pitchers have turned in a quality start in 19 of the club's past 28 games. The Braves lead the NL with 86 quality starts this year.

• Rookie Evan Gattis is 4-for-7 since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday. He went 3-for-3 on Tuesday night, including a game-tying solo homer in the seventh inning, then doubled in four at-bats as the cleanup hitter on Wednesday.

Gattis was sent to Gwinnett on Saturday and played in three games. He went 6-for-13, with three doubles and a home run.

Phillies: Brown out 'for a while'
Left fielder Domonic Brown hasn't played since Sunday and hasn't started a game since last Friday, and his return isn't imminent. He said on Wednesday that he won't be doing any baseball activities for "at least a week" after an MRI revealed tendinitis in his right Achilles.

Brown hopes that the time off will improve the inflammation in the area, and he does expects to play again before the end of the season.

• Philadelphia is in the middle of a streak of 20 games in 20 days, its longest stretch of the 2013 season without a day off.

Worth noting
• Atlanta outfielder Reed Johnson continues to rest his bothersome left Achilles, hoping to be fully ready for the playoffs.

"We've kind of picked out an area in September where I've got enough time to start the rehab again, start the running, get at-bats and get myself ready for the playoffs," Johnson said. "I feel like that's the most important thing."

• The Braves hit the road after a 7-2 homestand that featured a three-game sweep of the Indians, then 2-1 series victories over the Marlins and Mets. Comments