ATLANTA -- As they struggled through the first week of the season, the Braves remained confident their offense would eventually show life. Tommy Hanson was just happy to see these bats come to life on a night when he too escaped an early-season funk.
Martin Prado produced two key hits and veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez dazzled with his glove while providing Hanson with more than enough to support a strong seven-inning effort that helped the Braves claim a 5-0 win over the Marlins at Turner Field Tuesday night.
"The bottom line is, as our pitching goes, we're going to go," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said after contributing a pair of RBIs. "Tonight was as perfect of a nine-inning game as we've played yet."
With just their second win in their past seven games, the Braves distanced themselves from some of the frustration that built as they scored two runs or fewer in six of this season's first 10 games.
At the same time, the Braves allowed manager Fredi Gonzalez and second baseman Dan Uggla to draw first blood in this season series against their former team. This was the first time these two teams have played since Gonzalez was named Atlanta's manager and Uggla was traded from the Marlins to the Braves.
"It was fun," said Uggla, who showed his heart when he hustled his way to a double in the fifth inning. "The most important thing is getting back in that winning column."
While it was important for the Braves to see Nate McLouth deliver a clutch third-inning double and receive impressive solo homers from both Jason Heyward and Brian McCann, it was equally encouraging to see Hanson prove dominant after struggling in his first two starts of the season.
"When a pitcher makes his pitches, especially a guy like Tommy, with great stuff like that, it's tough to hit," Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison said. "He pounded the zone and set the tone for them."
Hanson limited the Marlins to four hits over seven scoreless innings, looking much more poised than he had over the past week. The big right-hander struck out three of the first five batters he faced, equaling the total he notched in his first two starts combined. He ended his 98-pitch effort with five strikeouts.
"Mac was having fun back there because he said he was really following the glove back there," said Gonzalez in reference to the fact that Hanson was routinely hitting the spots provided by McCann.
Hanson struggled with his command during his season debut in Washington, and had trouble with his slider in last week's start against the Brewers. But in this home debut he threw first-pitch strikes to seven of the first 11 batters he faced and displayed the confidence that wasn't seen in his first two outings.
"Tommy set the tone early," Jones said. "He really came out. He was locating his fastball and wasn't afraid to throw the fastball, and got the strikeouts. He kind of let us know they weren't going to score that many tonight, and that any help the offense could give would be appreciated."
Hanson pitched around leadoff doubles hit by Mike Stanton and Morrison in the second and fifth innings, respectively. The fifth inning concluded with him getting Chris Coghlan to swing through a third strike with runners at first and second base.
"It was one of those games where everything felt good," said Hanson, who threw a heavy dose of changeups and was encouraged that he once again possessed a good feel for his slider.
The combined shutout produced by Hanson and three other Braves relievers was aided by Gonzalez, who sparkled on a night when McLouth also provided solid defense in center field.
Gonzalez dove to his right and made a strong throw from his knees to rob Hanley Ramirez of a hit in the sixth inning. The veteran shortstop, who began his career with the Marlins, might have trumped that play when he dove to his right again to deny former Brave Omar Infante of an RBI single.
"Gonzo was unbelievable," Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he was plain showing off there at the end."
Marlins starter Chris Volstad seemed to be in command when he needed just 23 pitches to get through the first two innings without allowing a hit. But after retiring the first two batters he faced in the third inning, he surrendered a two-out single to Prado, who scored from first base when McLouth followed with an RBI double off the right center-field wall.
Jones began his two-RBI performance with a third consecutive two-out hit to cap the two-run third inning off Volstad, who was charged with five earned runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Heyward increased Hanson's advantage to three runs when he lined a 2-0 fastball over the center-field wall. The 21-year-old right fielder's third homer of the season traveled an estimated 433 feet.
Prado doubled to begin the fifth inning and advanced to third base on a McLouth sacrifice bunt. This put him in position to score on Jones' opposite-field sacrifice fly. McCann followed with a solo homer, which eased some of the frustration that had built while he was recording just two hits in his first 17 career at-bats against Volstad.
"We did a little bit of everything," Jones said. "We hit the long ball and got some big clutch two-out hits. We played small ball and pitched well. The defense was off the charts."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.