Atlanta, GA – Brian McCann continued his onslaught of the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, this time hammering a three-run homer off the newly-flush Cole Hamels to spark the Atlanta Braves in a 6-1 victory.
McCann entered the weekend series hitting .364 this season against the Braves' NL East rivals and has homered in all six of his games against them.
Friday's blast helped Ben Sheets (3-0) win his third consecutive start since returning from Tommy John surgery, as the former All-Star's surprising resurgence continued by holding the streaking Phillies to one run on six hits over six innings.
"He's [done] everything and more we could ever have asked for him to do," McCann said of his batterymate. "His stuff is there. He knows what he's doing. It's very impressive."
Philadelphia had won four in a row in comeback fashion and was looking to spoil the opener of Atlanta's 10-game homestand with their ace on the hill.
But Hamels (11-5) had his shortest outing the season just two days removed from becoming the second highest paid pitcher in baseball. The left-hander, fresh off signing a six-year, $144 million extension, issued a career-high six walks and surrendered five runs -- three earned -- in five innings of work.
"I wasn't able to get the pitches where I wanted to," Hamels said. "I wasn't even throwing strikes to the pitcher when he was bunting."
Sheets did not give up a run in his previous two starts, but surrendered one just two batters in, as Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a single and raced around to score on Shane Victorino's double to the right-field gap.
The Braves, who were coming off 4-3 road trip, shook off the early deficit and scored the next six runs.
Hamels, making his 200th career start, got some help in the second when Carlos Ruiz threw behind Chipper Jones and picked him off at second, but the left- hander uncharacteristically walked three of the next four batters.
Sheets' routine grounder to third with the bases loaded appeared to end the inning, but Mike Fontenot came up too early and had the ball pass through his legs. The error plated Freddie Freeman, and Michael Bourn's single knocked in Dan Uggla with the go-ahead run.
Another walk and a ground-rule double by Jones got Hamels in trouble in the fifth, and McCann made him pay by hitting a 1-0 fastball just over the wall in center field for his 17th home run of the season.
Martin Prado singled in another Braves run in the sixth, this coming after John Mayberry committed a three-base error in the left-field corner.
Attempting another come-from-behind win proved to be a daunting task for the Phillies, who went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.
The best chance for the visitors came in the seventh when they loaded the bases, but Jonny Venters struck out Ryan Howard to end the threat.
With his second double, Jones tied Pete Rose for second most extra-base hits by a switch-hitter with 1,041. Eddie Murray is first with 1,099...The Braves scored all of their runs with two outs...Atlanta is 55-1 when taking a lead into the seventh inning or later...The Braves have taken five of seven from Philadelphia so far this season, including the last four...Paul Janish and Freeman each walked three times...Rollins and Victorino each had two hits.