Brian McCann kept up his scorchingly hot pace he started just before the All-Star break, hitting the go-ahead three-run homer to propel the Atlanta Braves to a 6-4 win over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Friday's second half opener.
Tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, McCann put together an epic at-bat against White Sox starter John Danks. After fouling off six pitches in an 11-pitch at-bat, McCann blasted his three-run bomb to right field on a full count.
McCann went 1-for-4 with the three-run homer after hitting .410 with 15 RBIs in 16 games before the break.
"I've been feeling good for a while now and I got to swing a little bit over the All-Star break at the game, which was nice," McCann said on braves.com. "I think it takes every player in baseball four or five innings to get back into the swing of things when you take four or five days off. It was nice to get a win the first game back."
Tim Hudson earned a win over 7 1/3 innings while giving up four earned runs, though one of those scored off Jeff Keppinger's single in the eighth off Jordan Walden.
Before the eighth inning, Alex Rios accounted for all of Hudson's damage with a two-run double, scoring Alexei Ramirez from second as he just barely slid around McCann's tag at the plate.
But that just tied the game, thanks to an earlier two-run homer by Andrelton Simmons, his ninth of the year. Simmons also helped turn a double play in the fifth strand a runner at third and preserve a tie.
Chris Johnson tacked on an insurance run on an RBI-single in the ninth, setting up Craig Kimbrel for his 27th save.
The Braves also put up good offensive numbers despite Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman not being in the lineup. Freddie Freeman did enter as a defensive replacement in the eighth, only to collide with the enormous Adam Dunn on a throw up the line.
The win, couple with a Washington Nationals loss, gives the Braves a Major League-best seven-game lead in the National League East.
Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Brian McCann, Chicago White Sox, Freddie Freeman, MLB, Tim Hudson