The R-Braves have seemingly forgotten that part of the equation — and not even the presence of major league all-star Nate McLouth was enough to jog their memory.
Accumulating just three hits, the punchless Braves were shut out for the fourth straight game Thursday night in a 1-0 loss to the Augusta GreenJackets at State Mutual Stadium. The Braves have now been held scoreless for a staggering 41 consecutive innings.
McLouth, making a rehab assignment while recovering from a hamstring injury, finished 0-for-2. He was a hit by a pitch in his final at-bat in the fifth inning, but did not have to leave the game.
McLouth might play for Rome again tonight in the final home game of the season, although his plans had not been confirmed by press time Thursday night.
The Braves were hoping he would be a spark to their offense, but it didn’t happen. Instead, they managed just three singles, and their only legitimate scoring chance of the night came to nothing when Sammy Sime was thrown out at the plate in the seventh inning.
The defeat wasted a brilliant effort from starter Mike Minor, who worked five scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
Minor, who was the Braves’ No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, allowed five hits and didn’t issue a walk. The former Vanderbilt star lowered his already-tiny ERA from 1.00 to 0.64.
He has allowed just one earned run in 14 innings in four starts for the R-Braves, and has 17 strikeouts and no walks.
Reliever Michael Mehlich took the loss, surrendering the game’s lone run in the top of the seventh on a two-out wild pitch.
McLouth, the Atlanta Braves’ center fielder, struck out in the first inning, lined out to center in the third and was hit by a pitch in the fifth. (The pitch appeared to hit him just above the numbers on the back of his jersey, but he showed no lingering pains on the bases.)
The Braves have now been shut out in five of the past six games, and have batted only .160 as a team over the past five games. They haven’t scored a run since the third inning of Monday’s 2-0 win over Charleston.
NOTE: Former Calhoun star Charlie Culberson went 0-for-4 for the GreenJackets.