The Braves have used their bats to put their slow start to the season behind them. Atlanta looks for a sixth victory in a row this evening when it opens a three-game series with the New York Mets.
The Braves' season got off to a poor start as the club was swept in three games at New York against the Mets before losing the opener of a three-game series in Houston. Atlanta rebounded to take the final two games of that series and then began its six-game homestand with a three-game sweep of Milwaukee.
Atlanta has scored at least six runs in four of its five wins and got a big boost with the return of Chipper Jones to the lineup in Sunday's finale. Jones missed the first two games of the series with swelling around his surgically repaired knee, but keyed a 7-4 win with a three-run homer.
"It was nice to get back in the lineup," said the third baseman. "The knee felt good."
Jason Heyward added a solo homer and is 8-for-18 over his past five games, while Eric Hinske added a two-run single and Brian McCann drove in a run to back seven solid innings by Brandon Beachy. The Braves starter yielded just one unearned run with six strikeouts.
Tommy Hanson takes his turn for Atlanta tonight and has turned in a pair of five-inning outings over his first two starts, splitting the decisions while giving up three runs over 1-0 innings.
Hanson took a tough-luck defeat at the Mets in his club's season opener on April 5, with the only run allowed being an RBI single by David Wright in a 1-0 loss. The right-hander fell to 3-4 with a 3.48 earned run average in eight career starts versus New York.
The 25-year-old Hanson bounced back to beat the Astros on Tuesday, getting charged with two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out eight.
The Mets counter with Dillon Gee, who did not face Atlanta in that season- opening series and in fact did not make his season debut until Tuesday in a loss to the Nationals. Gee gave up a home run on just his third pitch of the game and was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits and a walk over 5 1/3 frames.
"He left the ball inner-half to Desmond, but other than that he threw the ball great," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Gee.
A 13-game winner last season, the 25-year-old righty is 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA in seven career starts versus the Braves.
New York won its first two games over the weekend in Philadelphia, but was denied a sweep with Sunday's 8-2 setback. Mike Pelfrey allowed one run over six innings and left with the lead, but the Phillies got to the Mets bullpen and blew the game open with a five-run eighth inning.
"You have got to get outs when they are available and you can't walk guys," Collins said. "You can't put yourselves in big holes and that's what happened today."
The only runs for New York came on Ike Davis' two-run homer in the first inning.
New York played without Jason Bay after the outfielder was a late scratch due to a sprained right ring finger.