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Atlanta at Washington

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Atlanta (84-70) «41010000511130
Washington (52-102)001030001573

Hanson picks up win No. 11, helps Braves keep pace for wild card

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

WASHINGTON -- Tommy Hanson is a major reason why the Atlanta Braves are closing the season with a flourish. They're going to need more than Hanson's help to get into the playoffs.

The rookie pitched seven innings Saturday for his 11th win, Yunel Escobar drove in three runs and the Braves beat the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Saturday for their fifth consecutive victory.

Atlanta pulled within 2½ games of Colorado for the NL wild card when the Rockies lost 6-3 to St. Louis, which clinched the NL Central title.The Braves (84-70) have won 13 of 15 and are 50-30 since June 27, improving to a season-best 14 games over .500.

  Playoff Race

Hanson (11-4) allowed four hits and four runs -- three of them on Mike Morse's pinch-hit homer. The right-hander, who made his major league debut on June 7, struck out seven and walked one.

"Since I've been up here, we've been playing really well," Hanson said. "Hopefully, we keep winning games and get lucky."

Atlanta was six games under .500 before going on its impressive run. Besides Hanson's promotion, the Braves traded for Nate McLouth in late May and Adam LaRoche in late July.

"It's getting to be a lot more fun," manager Bobby Cox said. "I think we're pretty good right now."

It's going to be difficult for Atlanta to catch the Rockies, but the Braves have four more games against the woeful Nationals, who lost for the 102nd time, matching their total from last year with eight games remaining.

Catcher Brian McCann said the 6-foot-6, 23-year-old Hanson has played a key role in launching the team into contention.

"What he brings to the team is a guy who has No. 1-type stuff," he said.

The Braves took advantage of Washington's shoddy defense to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Yunel Escobar had a two-out, two-run single off Garrett Mock (3-10) in the first and third baseman Pete Orr's throwing error on Matt Diaz's slow roller led to two more runs.

Orr got the start in place of Ryan Zimmerman, who pinch hit in the eighth inning and flied out.

Right fielder Elijah Dukes committed the first of his two errors in the second, muffing Chipper Jones' fly ball for a two-base miscue that allowed Martin Prado to score. Dukes also committed an error in the ninth.

Washington has allowed five unearned runs on four errors in the last two games.

"If it could go wrong, it went wrong," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "Freakish things are happening."

Atlanta broke it open with five runs in the ninth. McCann hit a two-run homer, Jones and Escobar had RBI doubles and LaRoche singled in a run.

"You can't really take any hitters off in our lineup," Jones said. "It was just a matter of time before we put it all together and started rattling off wins."

Mock, who lost his fifth consecutive decision, allowed six runs, four earned, and seven hits in five innings. Willie Harris had a two-out RBI single in the third, Morse connected in the fifth and Ian Desmond added a sacrifice fly in the ninth for Washington.

Notes

  • Riggleman said Zimmerman is a little banged up. "He's been playing through some nagging stuff," Riggleman said. "He's sore in a couple of different areas." Zimmerman expects to play Sunday. "I think everyone is banged up right now," he said.
  • Nationals SS Cristian Guzman may not play in the field again this season. He's suffering from a sore shoulder, which has limited him to pinch hitting.
  • Washington LHP Sean Burnett, whose bruised left thumb has hampered him, may not pitch again this season. "I doubt if we'll use him. That bone contusion has not gotten better," Riggleman said.
  • Atlanta is 45-35 on the road and 39-35 at Turner Field.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Rookie Tommy Hanson strikes out seven while giving up four hits over seven innings for his 11th victory. (AP)
Rookie Tommy Hanson strikes out seven while giving up four hits over seven innings for his 11th victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

M. Morse
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Atlanta

Y. Escobar
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
 

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Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth, CF5110010 .264
Martin Prado, 2B2310200 .306
Chipper Jones, 3B5221001 .271
Brian McCann, C4222101 .286
Garret Anderson, LF5021014 .273
    Reid Gorecki, PR-LF0100000 .208
Yunel Escobar, SS5223012 .299
Adam LaRoche, 1B3021200 .284
Matt Diaz, RF5011013 .320
Tommy Hanson, P3000013 .056
   a- Kelly Johnson, PH1000000 .220
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
   b- Greg Norton, PH1000001 .137
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals391113955  
a-grounded out for Hanson in the 8th
b-flied out for Gonzalez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Martin Prado (34, Mock), Chipper Jones (23, MacDougal), Garret Anderson (27, Mock), Yunel Escobar (26, Kensing), Adam LaRoche (36, Mock)
HR - Brian McCann (21, Villone)
SH - Martin Prado (11)
RBI - Chipper Jones (69), Brian McCann 2 (90), Garret Anderson (58), Yunel Escobar 3 (74), Adam LaRoche (80), Matt Diaz (55)
2-OUT RBI - Garret Anderson (23), Yunel Escobar 2 (37), Matt Diaz (23)
Team LOB - 7
Atlanta Braves
Tommy Hanson (W,11-4) 7444171 2.98
Mike Gonzalez (H,17) 1000120 2.52
Eric O'Flaherty 0.2311010 3.19
Rafael Soriano 0.1000010 3.06
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hanson 97-65, Mike Gonzalez 18-10, Eric O'Flaherty 17-12, Rafael Soriano 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hanson 4-10
Batters Faced - Tommy Hanson 26, Mike Gonzalez 4, Eric O'Flaherty 5, Rafael Soriano 1
Washington Nationals
Willie Harris, CF3011000 .227
   a- Justin Maxwell, PH-CF0000100 .221
Pete Orr, 3B3000011 .268
    Zach Segovia, P0000000 .000
   b- Ryan Zimmerman, PH1000001 .289
    Mike MacDougal, P0000000 .000
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
    Logan Kensing, P0000000 .000
Josh Willingham, LF4000021 .267
Adam Dunn, 1B4000030 .273
Elijah Dukes, RF4110010 .255
Josh Bard, C3110110 .233
Alberto Gonzalez, 2B4120000 .266
Ian Desmond, SS3111012 .292
Garrett Mock, P0000000 .095
   c- Mike Morse, PH-3B3113022 .259
Totals32575211  
a-walked for Harris in the 8th
b-flied out for Segovia in the 8th
c-homered for Mock in the 5th
Batting
HR - Mike Morse (1, Hanson)
SF - Ian Desmond (1)
SH - Garrett Mock (3)
RBI - Willie Harris (27), Ian Desmond (6), Mike Morse 3 (8)
2-OUT RBI - Willie Harris (11)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Desmond-Gonzalez-Dunn
E - Elijah Dukes 2 (8, Dropped line drive), Pete Orr (4, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Garrett Mock (L,3-10) 5764450 5.91
Zach Segovia 3000100 6.75
Mike MacDougal 0.1222000 4.14
Ron Villone0222001 4.74
Logan Kensing 0.2211000 9.74
IBB - LaRoche by Garrett Mock
WP - Garrett Mock (10)
Pitches-Strikes - Garrett Mock 87-55, Zach Segovia 33-22, Mike MacDougal 11-6, Ron Villone 6-2, Logan Kensing 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Garrett Mock 8-3, Zach Segovia 4-4, Mike MacDougal 1-0, Logan Kensing 1-1
Batters Faced - Garrett Mock 27, Zach Segovia 9, Mike MacDougal 3, Ron Villone 2, Logan Kensing 4
Game Information
Attendance - 29058
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Scott Barry, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman