Before their two-game set at the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Atlanta Braves placed two starting outfielders on the disabled list and called up two players from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill the void.
The Braves will turn to another minor leaguer to take the place of a top pitcher in Wednesday's series finale.Mike Minor (0-1, 10.38 ERA) is expected to be called up from Gwinnett to take a turn in the rotation for the injured Tim Hudson (stiff back).Minor will be the third player in as many days to make the jump from the minors to Atlanta (27-23) after outfielders Jordan Schafer and Wilkin Ramirez were called up Monday to replace Jason Heyward (sore right shoulder) and Nate McLouth (strained left oblique).Despite their injury-depleted state, the Braves defeated the Pirates 2-0 in Tuesday's series opener, avoiding a fifth loss in six games.Atlanta only managed a sacrifice fly by Brooks Conrad in the second and an RBI double by Martin Prado an inning later, but Pittsburgh was shut down by Jair Jurrjens, who allowed six hits in 7 2/3 innings. The Braves, 7-3 against the Pirates since the start of last season, were held to two runs or fewer for the fourth time in five games."Luckily we had JJ going because we haven't been scoring a lot of runs lately," Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said.Minor made a spot start for Jurrjens on April 6, allowing five runs, seven hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings of a 5-4 loss to Milwaukee. The 23-year-old left-hander was sent to Gwinnett two days later.Minor made eight starts for the Braves' farm team, going 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA. He went 3-2 with a 6.18 ERA in eight starts for Atlanta last season, and this will be his first appearance against the Pirates.While the Braves are struggling a bit offensively, Pittsburgh is having even more trouble scoring.The Pirates (22-25) have been shut out in each of their last two games, totaling eight hits. Six of their 25 losses on the season have been shutouts.The heart of the batting order is to blame for some of the struggles, as Garrett Jones and Neil Walker, Pittsburgh's Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, are a combined 0 for 14 with a walk in the last two games.Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla, batting .185 on the season, got the night off for the series opener but could be poised for a big game in the finale. He batted .414 with two homers and eight RBIs in eight games against the Pirates last season, and is 2 for 4 against probable Pittsburgh starter James McDonald (3-3, 5.51).McDonald gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings of Thursday's 5-3 win over Cincinnati. It marked the fourth time in five starts McDonald yielded two runs or fewer. The right-hander had a 10.13 ERA through his first four outings of 2011."I think it was a mental adjustment, really," McDonald told the Pirates' official website. "It was just attack hitters and go after them with my best stuff."McDonald has not allowed a run in 11 career innings -- one start and two relief appearances -- against the Braves.