Atlanta kept the momentum going from their series win against Philadelphia as they got a great pitching performance from Tommy Hanson and just enough offense from Eric Hinske and Joe Mather to beat Houston 3-2.
Hanson was on from the first batter, as he showed he had command of his fastball, change-up, and curve in striking out Michael Bourn to start the game. Hanson went seven fantastic innings, giving up only three hits and two runs (only one of which was earned) while striking out ten and walking one.
Houston starter Brett Myers wasn't nearly as sharp, but the Braves let him get off the hook in the first two innings. Atlanta would load the bases in the first, but Myers would strike out Eric Hinske and Alex Gonzalez to escape the inning. The Braves would again load the bases in the second, but Myers would coax a grounder to first base from Brian McCann to escape yet again.
The first scoring happened in the fifth, as Tommy Hanson made one of his rare mistakes, leaving a fastball over the plate that Matt Downs hit down the left field line for a home run. Downs home run gave Houston a 1-0 lead.
Atlanta would respond in the sixth inning and finally get to Myers.. Eric Hinske would lead off the inning with one of his three hits, singling into right field. Gonzalez would then follow with a single of his own, advancing Hinske to third base. Joe Mather would then come up big for the Braves, as he would single into left field, scoring Hinske and Gonzalez to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
Houston would tie the game up in the seventh, as Carlos Lee would reach base on a throwing error by Martin Prado. Outside of that throwing error, Prado was fantastic at third base, making a couple of fantastic plays at the hot corner. Matt Downs would again hurt the Braves, as he doubled into left and scored Lee. That would tie the game at 2.
Eric Hinske would give the Braves back the lead for good in the bottom of the inning, as he singled to right off of Astros reliever Fernando Abad, scoring Nate McLouth who walked to lead off the inning. Hinske's single gave the Braves a 3-2 lead. Abad would earn the loss for Houston.
Eric O' Flaherty would pitch a perfect eighth inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Craig Kimbrel would come in for the save, and worked around a single to Carlos Lee to record his eleventh save of the year. Kimbrel recorded all of his outs via the strikeout, and for the game Braves pitching struck out 15 Astros while walking only one batter.
The finale of the two-game series is tomorrow as the Braves Derek Lowe takes on Houston's Wandy Rodriguez at 1:05 EST.