Hanson takes the mound again looking for his first victory since before the All-Star break as the NL East-leading Braves open a three-game series against the Marlins at Turner Field.
Whether due to bad luck, poor run support or the occasional off outing, Hanson (8-9, 3.53 ERA) is 0-4 with a 2.40 ERA in nine starts since beating the Marlins at home July 3. That victory improved him to 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts against Florida during his short career.
While the Braves (73-54) have provided little or no offense for Hanson during his stretch of futility, the right-hander failed to help himself Saturday at Chicago. He allowed five runs in the first three innings before Atlanta’s late rally fell short in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs.
“I just chalk it up as one of those days. I wish I could have went out there and given us a better chance, kept us a little closer, especially with what happened at the end. It just didn’t quite work out like that,” Hanson said.
The Braves - a major league-best 44-17 at home - are back in Atlanta after a 2-4 road trip that ended with them blowing a nine-run lead in Wednesday’s 12-10 defeat that capped a three-game sweep by Colorado. Atlanta, though, didn’t lose any ground atop the NL East and still leads Philadelphia by three games.
The Marlins, 8 1/2 games behind the Braves, likely need to sweep this series to have any realistic chance at winning the division. They do have momentum after taking the final two games of a three-game set with the New York Mets, winning 11-4 Thursday after trailing 4-0 early.
Logan Morrison’s(notes) two-run double capped a seven-run sixth and Hanley Ramirez(notes) - back in his customary No. 3 spot in the lineup - added three hits and two RBIs as Florida (64-62) closed within six games of San Francisco in the wild-card race.
“You’ve got to get more concentrated when there’s a runner on,” said Ramirez, who went 10 for 15 in the series and is batting .361 versus the Braves this year. “And Logan, he’s on fire right now. This is what we need.”
Morrison has hit safely in 23 of 26 games since being called up from the minors. The rookie left fielder is 10 for 23 during his current six-game hitting streak.
Marlins probable starter Chris Volstad(notes) (7-9, 4.82) limited Houston to two runs in six innings of a 6-3 victory Saturday, his second win in three starts. The 6-foot-8 right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA in five lifetime starts against the Braves.
First baseman Derrek Lee(notes) will make his Atlanta home debut after being acquired from the Cubs on Aug. 18. Lee, batting .125 (3 for 24) in six games since the trade, is a .237 career hitter at Turner Field with eight homers in 66 games.
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