07/08/12 6:55 PM ET
Hanson caps first half with 10 victories
By Jake Kaplan / MLB.com
"I'm getting a lot of ground balls when I need them," said Hanson (10-5, 3.71 ERA), one of six National League starters with double-digit victories. "I feel like my command is where I need to be. I feel really good with where I'm at right now. Hopefully after the break, I can really finish strong."
Hanson entered last season's second half with 10 wins before his shoulder started bothering him, and he was shut down on Aug. 6.
"It's nice going into the break with 10 wins," he said. "Hopefully I can finish stronger than last year and keep moving forward. My career high is 11. So hopefully I can get a lot more than that."
McCann finding groove at midway point
PHILADELPHIA -- After struggling most of the first half, Brian McCann has been sizzling at the plate. The Braves catcher entered Sunday's first-half finale against the Phillies with a homer and at least two RBIs in three straight games.
He then proceeded to drive in two more runs, including the game-winning homer in the seventh inning that lifted the Braves to a 4-3 win and a sweep of the Phillies to close out the season's first half.
McCann, who is now hitting .238 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs, said he went back to the basics of hitting and tried to erase his struggles from his mind. He credited his father and his brother, a former All-American at Clemson, for helping him out.
"I went 240 at-bats of struggling and sometimes you just have to hit the reset button, and that's kind of what I did," McCann said on Sunday.
McCann has torched the Phillies this season. In all five games in which he's played against Philadelphia this season, McCann is 8-for-22 with five home runs and 13 RBIs.
"He's a big-time player," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He rises up to competition. He knows it's a big series. He's produced. He's starting to swing the bat here in the last four, five, six games. He's been swinging the bat really well. That's good going into the break, and then hopefully coming out of it he'll be fine."
Simmons fractures finger, to be re-evaluated
PHILADELPHIA -- Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons fractured the pinkie finger on his right hand on a headfirst dive in the fourth inning of Sunday's 4-3 win over the Phillies. It's unknown how long Simmons will be out. The club should know more after Simmons is examined by Dr. Gary Lourie on Monday.
"Stuff happens," Simmons said. "Gotta live with the consequences. It's tough. [I] can't do anything about it."
The injury occurred when Simmons extended a routine single into a double. He said he saw Phillies center fielder Jason Pridie get complacent and lob the ball back into the infield. He took off.
"I always think, 'Make sure he makes a good play,' like throws the ball in hard and stuff. He didn't, so I took advantage of it," Simmons said. "You've gotta take some risks. You can't just be passive."
Though he was safe at second for a double, the headfirst slide unfortunately backfired. Eric Hinske pinch-hit for Simmons in the fifth before Jack Wilson entered as a defensive replacement.
"What a heads-up play the young man made. He ran the bases right from the very beginning, something that you preach," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He can slide 2,000 times and that stuff never happens to him. So it's a freak play. It's a cruel game at times. Hopefully the re-evaluation is a good one and we can minimize the damage with it."
Simmons, a 22-year-old rookie from Curacao, was hitting .296 with three homers and 15 RBIs and had dazzled with his glove in the middle of the infield.
"It's tough losing him for an extended period of time with how much he's meant for us," catcher Brian McCann said. "But we've got a guy in Jack Wilson who's been there and done that, and he's been playing for 12 years in this league. He's one of the top shortstops defensively in baseball. He's gotta fill in. He's gotta do a good job."
Chipper Jones was not in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Phillies. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said it was just to give Jones a breather and that the veteran third baseman would be available off the bench. After Sunday's game, Jones, who is retiring at season's end, is headed to Kansas City to play in his eighth and final All-Star Game on Tuesday.
Reliever Eric O'Flaherty was unavailable Sunday after pitching in three straight games.
Tim Hudson (7-4, 3.56 ERA) and Tommy Hanson (10-5, 3.71) are set to start the Braves' first two games after the All-Star break. The Braves host the Mets for a three-game series starting on Friday.
Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.