The Atlanta Braves won a close game in Arizona on Saturday, beating the Diamondbacks 3-2 to hand the D-backs their fifth straight loss. Tommy Hanson, the ace of the Braves staff, pitched seven strong innings and allowed just one run en route to picking up his second win of the season.
After pummeling opponents with a devastating offense for the past few weeks, it was nice to see the Braves take a close game and lock it up in the late innings.
The Braves scored one run in each of he first three innings, and Dan Uggla launched his second home run of the season in the third, giving the Braves a 3-2 lead that the held for the remainder of the game.
Tommy Hanson looked sharp in his start. He gave up a run in the first and second inning, but commanded the strike zone and retired the last 12 batters he saw, handing the ball off to Jonny Venters in the eighth. Venters struck out the side, all but marking the tally in the win column for Fredi Gonzalez and Co.
Craig Kimbrel then came in for the ninth and recorded his fifth save in as many attempts this season. Kimbrel and the rest of the Atlanta bullpen have shown that, if given a lead, they can hold a game and shut down a lineup in their tracks.
Saturday’s win was reassuring for Braves fans. Atlanta’s offense had been blowing opponents out of the water, and no pressure was put on the pitching staff recently, with the Braves leading the league in runs scored.
Hanson had a great outing after beginning the 2012 season with three rather mediocre starts. The 25-year-old righty bounced back on Saturday and posted a seven-inning, five-hit, two earned run performance that gave the Braves their 10th win in 11 games.
Fans can take comfort in the fact that Atlanta’s pitchers retired the last 18 Arizona batters in a row. Tommy Hanson had seven strikeouts in as many innings, and Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel each struck out the side in the eighth and ninth, respectively, to lock up the win for the Braves.
The Braves are winning games with both their offense and pitching, putting them in great position in the NL East and the rest of the 2012 season.