The Braves seem to be having fun these days. They handed the Pirates' pitching staff their first six run game of the year on the way to a 6-1 win Friday night.
The Braves were able to bring their momentum home it seems, as they sunk the Pirates by a score of 6-1. From the very get-go, Tommy Hanson was forced to labor through his start, but managed to pitch out of trouble well. Alex Presley worked him for 11 pitches before Tommy was able to strike him out. He seemed to be throwing a lot of sliders throughout his start. From what I could see, they had good action, but he struggled a bit with command and his pitch count got high early. He made it through six full innings and only gave up one run, though.
The Braves got on the board first in the bottom of the third. Tyler Pastornicky worked a walk off of Burnett, and moved to second on a good bunt by Tommy Hanson. Martin Prado lined a ball just out of the reach of Neil Walker to bring the Rev home, giving the Braves a 1-0 advantage that wouldn't last long. In the top half of the fourth, Andrew McCutchen showed exactly how valuable he is to his club, when he singled up the middle and stole second base easily. Garrett Jones drove him in with a soft single down the right field line to tie the score at one apiece.
The Braves tacked on another run in the bottom half of the inning behind a Heyward stolen base. Jason worked a walk and then swiped his seventh base of the year on seven tries before Tyler Pastornicky brought him in with a liner over the head of Walker at second. McCann came out of the game in the top of the sixth inning, and early reports are that he strained his intercostal muscle, similar to the oblique injury of last year. The Bravos put the game on ice in the seventh, though by adding on four more runs. Following a Prado grounder through the left side, Freddie Freeman and David Ross worked walks before Dan Uggla lined a ball to right center to score two. Chipper drove in the other two with an RBI single to the opposite field from the left side of the plate against Evan Meeks to give the Braves the 6-1 lead that would ultimately hold.
Kris Medlen was terrific in his three inning save tonight, as he has been so far in the early going of the 2012 campaign. He added a great defensive play on a chopper up the middle and was even able to up his batting average with a slapped liner into shallow right center when allowed to bat for himself in the bottom of the eighth. Chipper added another great diving defensive play, which is great to see though those sorts of plays always worry me. On the way to their 1-6 loss, the Pirates staff also gave up more than five runs for the first time this season. The McCann injury could be a huge issue, though the reports given by the booth crew downplayed the muscle strain's severity. You will also be seeing a top play from Dan Uggla in center field on television tomorrow in a near collision with Pastornicky.