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Tommy Hanson Struggles Again, Atlanta Braves Drop Series to San Diego Padres

August 30th, 2012 at 8:57 AM
By Cody Fields

With a big, shutout win Tuesday over the San Diego Padres, the Atlanta Braves were in prime position for the rubber game to end the road trip at .500 on Wednesday at Petco Park. Tommy Hanson once again struggled, but he had rare defensive miscues behind him that ultimately led to the 8-2 loss.

Hanson and the Braves' troubles came to a head when Chipper Jones and Paul Janish nearly collided on a pop-up that start the fifth, leading to a two-run inning.

"It's a frustrating end to the road trip, especially with a play like that, and then you compound it," Jones said. "We don't field a bunt right after that. Then, all of a sudden a one-run lead is a three-run lead."

The fateful pop-up was hit by Everth Cabrera, who reached second on the error that was attributed to Jones.

"I heard him right at the last second," Jones said. "How many times do you see somebody call it right at the last second and then both guys shy away and it drops? I wasn't going to let that happen. It's just one of those unfortunate tweeners that didn't go our way. Not much else did either."

Hanson made matters worse when he allowed a popped up bunt by Will Venable to drop and bounce out of reach.

"We've got to get an out there, or at the very least, catch it in the air," Fredi Gonzalez said. "We didn't do that. They scored two."

Cabrera stole second to put runners at second and third, setting up a Chase Headley two-run single on a fastball that caught too much of the plate.

"His fastball command is the issue," Gonzalez said. "It's not going where he wants it to go. Some of the balls are being left over the plate, or he's walking guys with his fastball."

Hanson's ERA has ballooned to 6.69 since the All-Star break, and he has thrown fewer than five innings in three of his last six starts, going in the exact opposite direction of Padres starter Eric Stults, who held the Braves to one unearned run over six innings and contributed to the Braves scoring only four runs in the three-game series.

Stults, unlike Hanson, was able to escape trouble with minimal damage. The top of the fifth saw Dan Uggla lead off with a single, and an error on a grounder by Janish but runners at second and third. The only run Stults gave up was on a sacrifice fly by Michael Bourn.

The Braves also loaded the bases in the sixth inning, the last runner coming on a walk by Uggla during which Stults threw three straight balls after a 1-2 count. Janish popped up the first pitch he saw to end the inning.

The loss ends the Braves' road trip at 4-6, but their offensive woes extend beyond that to the tune of a .211 batting average over their last 12 games. Of course, Thursday marks their first day off after playing 20 consecutive days before starting a three-game series at Turner Field with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday.

The Washington Nationals won Wednesday, leaving the Braves exactly where they were in the standings before the road trip started at five games out of first place.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Chipper Jones, Eric Stults, MLB, Paul Janish, San Diego Padres, Tommy Hanson

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