Hanson, Braves cruise to fifth straight win
Given early support, righty tosses seven scoreless frames
ATLANTA -- Tommy Hanson created some concern over the course of the past couple of weeks. But now that September has arrived, it appears the right-hander is ready to once again serve as the horse the Braves need as they plow their way through a pennant race and toward the postseason.
Showing none of the command issues that plagued him in his previous two starts, Hanson allowed just one hit over seven innings, and gained all the support he needed from the red-hot Jason Heyward while helping the Braves claim Wednesday night's 4-1 win over the Mets.
While producing a career-best four-hit game for the third time in a span of 11 days, Heyward highlighted the offensive charge that helped Atlanta cruise to its fifth straight victory. The All-Star outfielder's contributions might have gone unrewarded without the dominance shown by Hanson, who looked nothing like the guy who had allowed 10 earned runs in the 10 innings that encompassed his previous two starts.
With Rick Ankiel serving as a human vacuum cleaner in center field, Hanson allowed just two baserunners to reach safely during his 96-pitch effort. He walked Chris Carter to begin the third inning and then pitched around the one-out double that he surrendered to David Wright in the fourth.
Wright's lone hit in 32 at-bats at Turner Field this year served as just a bump in the road for Hanson, who retired each of the final 11 batters he faced. Having been doomed by a lack of offensive support and the struggles that marred his previous two outings, this was the 24-year-old right-hander's first win since July 3.
Heyward, who has batted .533 (24-for-45) in his past 11 games, delivered a pair of doubles in the first two innings and helped the Braves gain an early four-run advantage against Mets starter Mike Pelfrey. Omar Infante added a three-hit performance that included an RBI single in the two-run second.
Showing his ability to ferociously lace balls the opposite way, Heyward delivered a first-inning double to right and then jogged home when Martin Prado followed with a two-run double. The 21-year-old outfielder added another opposite-field double in the second that scored Infante.
Ankiel began his two-hit performance with a one-out single in the second. But his greatest contributions came courtesy of the nine outs he secured in center for Hanson. His finest catch came in the third, when he raced into right-center field and snared Ruben Tejada's long drive as he fell to the turf with his back to the infield.
Highly regarded prospect Freddie Freeman went hitless in three at-bats while making his Major League debut as the starting first baseman. He was denied a first-inning single when his sharp grounder found the glove of Tejada, who was perfectly positioned behind second base.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.