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Braves' Hanson bounces back, easily handles Marlins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Braves manager Bobby Cox had a quick answer when asked how Tommy Hanson returned to his winning form.

"Strike one," Cox said.

Hanson made an adjustment in his delivery and, relying on first-pitch strikes, did not give up an earned run in his recovery from back-to-back ugly losses, leading Atlanta to a 4-1 win over the Florida Marlins on Saturday.

Hanson (8-5) allowed five hits and an unearned run with eight strikeouts and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. The second-year right-hander's return to form came after he yielded a combined 15 runs in two straight losses while failing to make it out of the fourth inning in both starts.

By Cox's count, Hanson threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of 29 batters. He threw 106 pitches, including 71 for strikes.

"That's huge for him. I think that's the key to pitching to begin with," Cox said of Hanson's success when pitching ahead in the count.

"He had his overpowering stuff today," Cox said.

Hanson made an adjustment in his delivery after studying video with pitching coach Roger McDowell, who noticed the right-hander wasn't starting with his motion high enough. As a result of starting his delivery from a lower point, Hanson's pitches were drifting too high in his last two starts.

Hanson said part of his problem was mental.

"I think I just got away from trusting my stuff a little bit, trying to go out there and make a perfect pitch," he said. "I just tried to stay aggressive.

"I think that's the biggest thing I could take away from those two bad outings: Just trust my stuff and stay aggressive."

Hanson, who has never lost more than two consecutive decisions, struck out four straight batters in the sixth and seventh. He is 3-0 in four career starts against Florida.

"He wasn't striking out anybody early, but he made adjustments," said Florida manager Edwin Rodriguez of Hanson. "We didn't make adjustments."

Billy Wagner, who had a blown save in the Braves' 4-3 win over Florida on Friday night, pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

With a rare 4:10 p.m. start, a shadow between the pitcher's mound and home plate was a factor for both teams.

"Everybody was struggling," Rodriguez said.

All of the Braves' runs came in a four-run fourth, when Gregor Blanco hit a two-run single off Anibal Sanchez (7-5).

The NL East-leading Braves (48-33) moved a season-best 15 games over .500 at the midpoint of their season. They are 6-2 on their nine-game homestand.

The Marlins have lost three straight.

Hanson gave up two hits and a walk as the Marlins loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Hanson pitched out of the jam by striking out Cody Ross and Ronny Paulino.

Hanson left the game after giving up a single to Chris Coghlan and a walk to Gaby Sanchez with two outs in the seventh. Peter Moylan struck out Hanley Ramirez on three pitches to end the inning.

"We had our opportunities," Ross said. "We just couldn't get anything going. Everytime we had runners on, we hit into a double play, struck out or something.

"We need to pick it up. Losing against these guys is not good. They're in first place, running away with it."

The Braves took a 4-1 lead in the fourth on three straight run-scoring hits off Anibal Sanchez by Omar Infante, Yunel Escobar and Blanco. Escobar's double to right-center drove in Brian McCann, who reached on an infield hit. Blanco's single to center drove in Infante and Escobar.

Infante, who had the game-winning hit in the Braves' 4-3 win in 11 innings Friday night, had two hits.

Anibal Sanchez gave up seven hits and four runs in six innings. He gave up more than three runs in a game for only the third time in his last 14 starts, but each of the three are in his last six outings.

"He kept us in the game, but we have to score some runs," Rodriguez said.

Florida scored an unearned run in the second. Hanson hit Ross with a pitch. Ross stole second and advanced to third on McCann's throwing error. Second baseman Martin Prado dropped Ronny Paulino's popup for an error, allowing Ross to score.

Notes
  • Atlanta 1B Eric Hinske moved in from LF, where he has made 31 starts, to give Troy Glaus , who has a sore left knee, a day off.
  • Florida called up INF Donnie Murphy from Triple-A New Orleans before the game. INF Brian Barden , who was hitting .179 in 28 at-bats, was designated for assignment.
  • Rodriguez said Paulino, who made his 24th straight start at catcher, will be given a rest Sunday when Brett Hayes starts.
 
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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Tommy Hanson avoids his first career three-game skid by not allowing an earned run to the Marlins. (AP)
Tommy Hanson avoids his first career three-game skid by not allowing an earned run to the Marlins. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

O. Infante
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Atlanta

T. Hanson
IP 6.2
H 5
ER 0
BB 2
K 8
 
Florida Marlins
Chris Coghlan, LF5010010 .281
Gaby Sanchez, 1B3020100 .309
Hanley Ramirez, SS4000034 .298
Jorge Cantu, 3B3010001 .265
Dan Uggla, 2B3020100 .268
Cody Ross, CF3110013 .293
Ronny Paulino, C4000016 .299
Mike Stanton, RF4000021 .207
Anibal Sanchez, P2000010 .200
   a- Emilio Bonifacio, PH1000010 .188
    Jose Veras, P0000000 .000
   b- Wes Helms, PH1000010 .257
Totals33170211  
a-struck out for Sanchez in the 7th
b-struck out for Veras in the 9th
Batting
SB - Cody Ross (8, 3rd base off Hanson/McCann)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Paulino-H. Ramirez
Florida Marlins
Anibal Sanchez (L,7-5) 6744240 3.35
Jose Veras 2100030 6.17
WP - Jose Veras (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 108-68, Jose Veras 32-24
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 8-5, Jose Veras 1-2
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 26, Jose Veras 7
Atlanta Braves
Martin Prado, 2B4010001 .336
Melky Cabrera, RF4010021 .256
Chipper Jones, 3B3100112 .249
Brian McCann, C4120000 .261
Eric Hinske, 1B4000014 .284
Omar Infante, LF4121010 .311
Yunel Escobar, SS2111101 .245
Gregor Blanco, CF3012012 .375
Tommy Hanson, P1000010 .133
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Diaz, PH1000000 .171
    Takashi Saito, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
Totals3048427  
a-flied out for Moylan in the 7th
Batting
2B - Yunel Escobar (11, Sanchez)
SH - Tommy Hanson (4)
RBI - Omar Infante (22), Yunel Escobar (19), Gregor Blanco 2 (3)
CS - Omar Infante (2, 2nd base by Sanchez/Paulino)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Hanson-Escobar-Hinske, Jones-Prado-Hinske
E - Brian McCann (7, Throwing), Martin Prado (3, Dropped fly)
Atlanta Braves
Tommy Hanson (W,8-5) 6.2510280 4.19
Peter Moylan (H,14) 0.1000010 3.09
Takashi Saito (H,10) 1200000 3.56
Billy Wagner (S,17) 1000020 1.35
HBP - Ross (by Tommy Hanson), Cantu (by Tommy Hanson)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hanson 106-71, Peter Moylan 3-3, Takashi Saito 9-5, Billy Wagner 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hanson 6-6, Takashi Saito 1-1, Billy Wagner 1-0
Batters Faced - Tommy Hanson 29, Peter Moylan 1, Takashi Saito 4, Billy Wagner 3
Game Information
Attendance - 30148
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Chad Fairchild