video thumbnail

FLA@ATL: Boscan records his first Major League hit

ATLANTA -- Sunday afternoon's game with the Marlins looked to be the perfect time for Tommy Hanson to regain the form that allowed him to post 10 wins and a 2.44 ERA before the All-Star break.

After all, the Braves pitcher had seen plenty of success so far in his young career against the Marlins. The right-hander took a 5-1 record in eight career starts against Florida into Sunday's game.

But he once again struggled through the early innings, as the Marlins built a two-run lead before hanging on to salvage the series finale with a 3-1 win at Turner Field.

"I think it's taken me a little bit to get going," Hanson said. "But I don't think that was the case today. They just took advantage of the mistakes I made."

The Braves came out of the All-Star break on July 15 and registered their 10,000th win in franchise history with an 11-1 victory over the Nationals. They closed this homestand with their 10,000th loss.

"Obviously, we're frustrated with the loss," infielder Brooks Conrad said. "Two out of three is good, but we definitely think we should have won that game."

Hanson has given up 17 runs in four starts since the All-Star break, and all but five of those have come before the fourth inning.

He gave up three runs over the first three innings on July 16 against the Nationals, four in the first two innings July 21 against the Rockies, three in the first two innings July 26 against Pittsburgh and two in the first three innings in Sunday's loss.

He's now 1-2 with a 6.56 ERA in his four starts in the second half.

"I've just got to keep working hard, keep making pitches and keep trying to help my team win," Hanson said. "I expect to do better than that. Going out and giving up three runs in six innings isn't what got me here, and it's not the way I want to pitch."

But it wasn't all on Hanson. The Braves got 12 hits off Ricky Nolasco, the second most the Marlins starter had allowed this season. But they managed to plate just one run, the seventh time this year Nolasco has held the opponent to one run or fewer.

"That's weird. That's just baseball," Conrad said. "You can get a few guys on and you see the good pitchers pitch out of those jams. You've got to tip your cap, but obviously we should have put up a few more runs."

Hanson's struggles started in the second inning after the Braves had struck first on Freddie Freeman's run-scoring double play. Hanley Ramirez began the rally with a leadoff walk before stealing second and coming home on Mike Stanton's single to center field.

The Marlins took the lead for good an inning later, as Omar Infante reached on an infield single before Greg Dobbs followed with a run-scoring double to right. Emilio Bonifacio added to the advantage in the fifth with his second homer of the season.

Hanson's afternoon was finished after the sixth, when he forced Nolasco into a groundout to short with runners on first and second.

The Braves were unable to rally from there off Nolasco. The right-hander allowed the leadoff man to reach in six of the seven innings he pitched, but escaped many potentially damaging situations. The Braves were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest blows came in the fourth and six innings, as the Braves had runners on the corners with less than two outs in each frame, but failed to capitalize.

"We've really been struggling getting that runner in from third base with less than two outs," said second baseman Dan Uggla, who pushed his Major League-leading hitting streak to 22 games with a first-inning infield single.

"You've got to do that in order to win ballgames. It's one of those things that we're going to overcome. We just didn't have that timely hit today."

Jason Heyward started the fourth with an opposite-field double before going to third on Alex Gonzalez's one-out single. But J.C. Boscan struck out swinging before Hanson grounded out to Nolasco.

Two innings earlier, Boscan notched an opposite-field single to give him his first Major League hit. The 31-year-old catcher has collected 3,803 plate appearances at the Minor League level and just five in the Majors.

"After I got my first hit, I came to the plate again looking to at least tie the game and it didn't happen," Boscan said. "It's tough when you come here for the first time and it's your first Major League start."

Two innings later, Heyward and Conrad led off with consecutive singles, but Gonzalez popped up to second before Boscan and pinch-hitter Chipper Jones struck out to end the inning.

Jones had been 15-for-35 (.429) with four homers off Nolasco in his career.

"It was an adrenaline builder. I am just glad I was able to get him, for once," Nolasco said. "I was going to challenge him. The adrenaline took over. I was going to try to make good pitches. I knew he was going to go up there hacking. I just didn't want him to get extended. That's when he always does his damage on me." Comments