Braves 4, Nationals 1
ATLANTA (AP)—Brian McCann says it will take more than one game for all of Atlanta’s hitters to shake out of their slumps.
Monday night was McCann’s turn.
McCann snapped a career-worst 0-for-16 streak with a run-scoring single that gave the Braves their first lead in a week, and he added a three-run homer to lift Atlanta to a 4-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night.
“Thank God for Brian McCann,” said leadoff hitter Willie Harris. “It’s huge to see McCann do what he did tonight. He drove in all our runs.”
McCann, a 2006 All-Star, was hitting only .250 before helping the Braves snap a season-worst, five-game losing streak, including four shutout losses.
McCann said he’s not the player to carry a team on his back.
“I’m probably the last person capable of doing that right now,” McCann said, adding “It’s one game. … Slumps take a little bit of time to get out of. Hopefully tonight is the night we start to do that.”
The Braves were outscored 27-1 in their five straight losses.
Atlanta ended its streak of 48 innings without holding a lead when McCann’s fourth-inning single drove in Edgar Renteria for a 1-0 lead. The Braves had not led a game since beating the Boston Red Sox 9-4 last Monday.
McCann’s second four-RBI game of the season helped Tim Hudson (7-5) win for the first time since May 30.
“It’s been a while; it’s been a lot longer than we would like,” Hudson said.
“I feel like I haven’t thrown the ball quite as bad as the results lately.”
Despite having only seven wins, Hudson has a 3.29 ERA.
“He’s had horrendous luck,” said Braves manager Bobby Cox.
Hudson, who had two losses and two no-decisions in his first four starts of June, gave up seven hits and one run with no walks in seven innings. He had nine strikeouts, matching his combined total from his first four starts of the month.
Even on a night the Braves were outhit 9-7, Hudson was appreciative of the four runs.
“I’ll tell you man, after we scored the one run it felt like three or four,” Hudson said. “When Mac hit that three-run homer, I felt like we had a 10-run lead.”
Bob Wickman got three outs for his 13th save in 16 chances.
In the fourth, Renteria reached on a fielder’s choice grounder and moved to second on a line-drive single up the middle by Chipper Jones. Washington starter Jason Bergmann lost his cap as he ducked to avoid Jones’ liner.
Renteria, who moved to third on Andruw Jones’ fly ball to center, scored easily on McCann’s single to left.
Bergmann (1-4), who came off the disabled list to start after missing five weeks with an inflamed right elbow, gave up four hits—including three in the fourth inning—and one run with four strikeouts in four innings.
McCann’s three-run homer off Washington reliever Billy Traber drove in Renteria, who doubled, and Andruw Jones, who was intentionally walked with McCann on deck. The decision to walk Jones came after he had a 3-0 count.
“It doesn’t matter if he is hitting .198 or whatever, he is always a dangerous hitter,” said Washington catcher Brian Schneider.
Said Washington manager Manny Acta: “Despite Andruw’s struggles, he still had twice as many RBIs as McCann.”
Actually, Jones has 42 RBIs. McCann now has 39.
“(Jones) has the potential to beat you, but McCann does, too,” Traber said.
Austin Kearns led off the seventh with an infield single and scored on Schneider’s single to left to cut Atlanta’s lead to 4-1.
Braves reliever Rafael Soriano struck out the side in the eighth after giving up a leadoff single to Felipe Lopez. ^Notes: McCann’s run-scoring single in the fourth ended the Braves’ 0-for-24 drought with runners in scoring position. … Bergmann’s last start came May 14 in a win at home over Atlanta. … Braves pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts, matching a season high set on April 25 at Florida.