Braves win 5-0 behind hard-luck pitcher

Braves win 5-0 behind hard-luck pitcher

April 13th, 2011 by Associated Press in Sports - Professional

Atlanta Braves' Martin Prado (14) scores on a Nate McLouth double as Florida Marlins catcher John Buck (14) waits for the throw in the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 12, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Braves' Martin Prado (14) scores on a...

ATLANTA - Tommy Hanson pitched four-hit ball over seven innings, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann homered and Chipper Jones drove in two runs to lead the Atlanta Braves past the Florida Marlins 5-0 Tuesday night.

Hanson (1-2) finally got a few runs to work with and the Braves turned in several nifty defensive plays, two of them diving stops by shortstop Alex Gonzalez.

The Braves have struggled offensively in their first 10 games, scoring three runs or fewer seven times - including both of Hanson's starts. This time, that wasn't a problem. Heyward homered in the fourth, McCann in the fifth.

Chris Volstad (0-1) took the loss. He was chased in the fifth, having allowed eight hits and all five runs.

Volstad breezed through the first two innings before Atlanta broke through in the third after the first two hitters struck out. Martin Prado lined a single and Nate McLouth followed with a double to the gap in right-center, Prado coming all the way around to score. Jones followed with another two-out hit, going the other way to left to make it 2-0.

Heyward made it 3-0 in the fourth, hitting a towering drive over the 400-foot sign in center field for his third homer of the season.

The Braves finished off Volstad in the fifth. One run was manufactured. The other was pure power.

Prado led off with a double, McLouth sacrificed him to third, setting up Jones to finish the job with a sacrifice fly. McCann came up next and got a more immediate result - a drive into the Braves' right-field bullpen for his first homer of the season. That was it for the Marlins starter.

In the sixth, Hanley Ramirez hit a wicked two-hopper that appeared headed for left field, but Gonzalez flopped down to make a backhanded grab. His throw to first skipped in the dirt, but Freddie Freeman dug it out so the defensive gem didn't go wasted.

"Wow," Hanson said on the mound.

The next inning, McLouth raced to deep center to haul in a drive by Logan Morrison before planting his face into the padded wall. Again, Hanson saluted the effort, raising his hand toward McLouth, who replied with a tip of his cap.

Hanson gave way to the bullpen in the eighth but, fortunately for the Braves, Gonzalez was still at short. He came up with another diving stop in the hole, rolling over in time to get a force at second that prevented at least one run from scoring.

An announced crowd of just 13,856 turned out at Turner Field on a cool night.