The Boston Red Sox overcame a rough day at the plate in their last game, thanks to a stellar performance on the mound. They may need to make another low run total stand up when they match up against Atlanta Braves rookie Tommy Hanson(notes).
Hanson looks to win his fourth straight start and keep the Red Sox from completing a sweep and winning for the seventh time in eight games overall as the clubs finish a three-game interleague series Sunday in Atlanta.
Boston (46-28) was limited to six hits Saturday but still pulled out a 1-0 victory behind a dominant outing from Tim Wakefield(notes), who went six innings and pulled into a tie for the major league lead with his 10th win.
Mark Kotsay(notes), who spent part of last season with the Braves, singled home Kevin Youkilis(notes) for the game’s lone run in the sixth inning and the Red Sox won for the sixth time in seven games. They’re 4-0 against the Braves (34-40) in that stretch.
The Red Sox could have a hard time putting together a better performance at the plate in the series finale if Hanson’s recent success is any indication. Since getting tagged for seven runs in his major league debut June 7, Hanson (3-0, 3.13 ERA) has held opponents to two total runs in 17 innings over his last three outings. Opponents are 2 for 18 (.111) with runners in scoring position against him in that span.
“That’s the sign of a pretty good pitcher,” manager Bobby Cox told the Braves’ official Web site.
Hanson pitched 5 1-3 innings in a 4-0 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday, extending his scoreless innings streak to 14. Despite delivering another strong performance, the 22-year-old right-hander was disappointed that he walked five Yankees.
“I was pumped up to throw against those guys and stuff like that, but really with the walks, it’s something I’ve never experienced before,” Hanson said. “I know what I’m doing wrong, and I’ve just got to correct it and slow myself down.”
“If he walks a couple of guys here and there, he’s got the stuff to get out of it. He never lost his composure. He never does. I haven’t seen it in the four or five starts he’s had. Hasn’t lost his composure once. He’s a special, special player.”
The Braves have dropped four straight since Hanson’s last start, and have totaled one run and 12 hits in the first two games of this series. They didn’t get a runner past second base until the eighth inning Saturday.
“It’s so frustrating,” McCann said. “This team should win more games the way our pitching is.”
Atlanta will try to snap out of its offensive slump against Boston starter Brad Penny(notes) (6-2, 4.93). The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.62 ERA over his last three starts, all Red Sox wins. After holding opponents without an earned run over 11 innings spanning his previous two outings, he gave up three runs in 5 2-3 innings of Boston’s 11-3 victory at Washington on Tuesday.
Penny is 8-4 with a 5.13 ERA in 19 career starts against the Braves, but is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his last six outings at Turner Field, where he hasn’t won since Sept. 21, 2002.