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Hansonmania Hits Atlanta, Then Brewers Hit Hanson; Braves Still Win

Joel Barker@joelabarkerSenior Writer IJune 8, 2009

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 19:  Pitcher Tommy Hanson #73 of the Atlanta Braves poses for a photo during Spring Training Photo Day on February 19, 2009 at Champions Stadium at Walt Disney World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Through the first three-plus innings Sunday, Tommy Hanson looked every bit the future ace that he is destined to become. After that first time through the order he quickly crashed down to earth.

After Hansen struck out the side in the second, a lot of the Braves faithful were beside themselves with excitement.

Then in the fourth the wheels started to slowly come off.

Ryan Braun took a misplaced fastball after a leadoff walk to J.J. Hardy and calmly deposited it into the stands to tie the game at two.

Hanson would give up a total of seven runs in his MLB debut, including a second two-run HR to Braun, and a two-run shot to Mike Cameron.

The other run came off a run-scoring double by Brewers pitcher Manny Parra, which also came close to going out.

Contrary to what the line looks like, the Brewers did not all of a sudden figure Hanson out. Hanson apparently lost command and could not place the ball where he needed to. Maybe nerves finally got the better of him.

Thankfully, Chipper Jones almost single-handedly kept Atlanta in the thick of things. Chipper crushed two HR's and 5 RBI's of his own, and ended up a double shy of the cycle.

Still Atlanta trailed 7-5 going into the seventh, when the Braves put runners on first and second with only one out.

However, Jeff Francoeur continued his dreadful slump by grounding into an inning-ending, rally-killing double-play. It was the first at-bat all day in which Francoeur did not swing at the first pitch--he instead waited until the second pitch.

Then in the eighth, Atlanta finally broke through.

Brian McCann had a pinch-hit, RBI double. Nate McLouth followed that with a scorching double to the gap allowing McCann to score and tie the game up. Yunel Escobar then came up and delivered the go-ahead single to put the Braves up 8-7.

Mike Gonzalez struggled with his control yet again in the ninth, but thanks to an unbelievable double-play turned by Martin Prado at first base, Atlanta was able to hold on for the win.

It was a much-needed win on this Sunday. It kept the Brewers from sweeping the series and it gives the Braves some much needed momentum heading into a four-game series against the Pirates beginning on Monday.

All things considered, Tommy Hanson's debut will probably be remembered for the dramatic eighth-inning comeback rather than his stellar first three innings.

I'm sure there will be many more memorable, stellar innings to come from Tommy Hanson over the course of the next 15 or so years though.

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