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McCann, Hudson Lead The Braves’ Charge To Victory, 5-0
Posted By Jourdan Shepard On Jul 6 2012 @ 11:29 pm In Atlanta Braves | No Comments
Brian McCann’s grand slam and Tim Hudson’s four-hit, seven-inning outing help the Braves upset Ryan Howard’s return to the Phillies lineup in a 5-0 victory.
Howard made his first appearance in a Phillies uniform since he recorded the final out of Game 5 in the 2011 NL Division Series against the eventual World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Missouri native had to be carried off of the field following the Phillies’ 1-0 loss to the Cardinals when he attempted to beat a ground out in order to extend the game. Before Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel activated his All-Star first baseman from the disabled list, Howard batted .471 with a homer, two doubles, and nine RBIs in six minor league rehab games. Howard batted cleanup Friday night and went 2-for-4 including a double to deep centerfield in the third inning.
Despite the positive performance Ryan added to the Phillies’ offense, Philadelphia (37-48) continued to struggle to create any offense.
The Phillies offense failed to reward starter Kyle Kendrick (2-8) with any run support throughout his seven-inning outing. Kendrick recorded five strikeouts and walked one batter while throwing 89 pitches, however, Hudson (7-4) matched his efforts. Hudson posted seven scoreless innings and coaxed 14 ground-ball outs himself, but the 13-year veteran was not able to record a third strike against any batter he faced.
After both starters entered the dugout for the final time of the game, only the Braves were able to muster any offense.
Matt Diaz pinched-hit to lead off the eighth inning with a single and was later joined on the base path by Michael Bourn after he was walked by Anthony Bastardo (2-3). Bastardo seemed to find control in the inning after he recorded outs against Martin Prado and Jason Heyward, but lost it after walking Chipper Jones to load the bases. Diaz scored the first run of the game after Bastardo walked Freddie Freeman.
McCann made matters worse for Bastardo when he smashed a 0-1 delivery over the centerfield fence for a grand slam.
“Bastardo’s been our eighth-inning guy,” Manuel told ESPN.com. “We wanted him on the lefties. It didn’t work out.”
Down five runs, Manuel sent Michael Schwimmer to relive the Dominican right-handed pitcher. McCann’s eighth-inning blast (11) was his second home run in as many days and his second grand slam against Philadelphia this season.
“You see the old Brian McCann of the past and he’s told me numerous times in the last two weeks that he’s ready to be the best player in the second half,” Gonzalez told the AJC. “He goes out and gives these performances the last four nights and you can believe him.”
With this latest win, the Braves are now five games behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East. The Braves will send Tommy Hanson (9-5) to the mound tomorrow to take on Joe Blanton (7-7).
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