Braves best Astros
Posted: Monday, June 13, 2011 4:08 pm
By: By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — Tommy Hanson struck out a career-high 14 in seven innings, Brian McCann and Dan Uggla hit two-run homers and the Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros 4-1 Sunday for their sixth straight win.
Hanson (8-4) gave up one run and three hits while improving to 3-0 in five career starts against the Astros. The 24-year-old righty struck out five in a row early in the game and fanned the last three batters he faced.
Hanson’s strikeouts were the most by a Braves pitcher since John Smoltz had 15 in 2005 against the Mets. Hanson is tied with Houston’s Bud Norris for the most strikeouts in a game at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros lost for the eighth time in nine games and struck out 17 times overall.
Reliever Eric O’Flaherty fanned one in the eighth and Jonny Venters struck out two in the ninth.
Venters earned his third save and extended his scoreless streak to 22 innings, the best current string by a reliever in the majors.
The slumping Uggla hit his eighth homer, a shot to left field off Brett Myers (2-6) that put Atlanta up 2-0 in the first inning.
McCann, who hit a go-ahead homer in the 10th inning Saturday, connected for his fourth homer this season against Houston for a 4-0 lead in the sixth.
Myers yielded five hits and four runs in seven innings.
The 18 homers he has allowed this season are the most in the majors.
Hanson walked Carlos Lee with no outs in the second inning before retiring Brett Wallace. He then struck out five Astros in a row.
Clint Barmes reached on an error with no outs in the fourth when the throw by third baseman Brandon Hicks was too high. Hanson got Matt Downs for his seventh strikeout of the game before Lee got Houston’s first hit on a single to shallow center field.
Lee’s run-scoring double made it 4-1 in the sixth inning.
Astros fill-in right fielder Jason Michaels made three nifty diving catches. Regular right fielder Hunter Pence got the day off because of tightness in his lower back and substitute Jason Bourgeois was a late scratch with a sprained right ankle.
NOTES: Hicks, who was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, went to high school in Houston and college at nearby Texas A&M. ... Houston manager Brad Mills hopes to have Pence back for Monday night’s game.