LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Tommy Hanson retired the last 10 batters he faced and gave up only two hits and one run in five innings of the Braves’ 4-3 win against the Boston Red Sox at Champion Stadium.
After Marco Scutaro homered on the second pitch of the game, Hanson set down 15 of the next 16 batters, a streak interrupted only by Ryan Kalish’s second-inning single.
Hanson doesn’t buy into the stuff about spring training being too long for starting pitchers.
“For me, the more times I go out there, the better,” said the right-hander, who has a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings, allowing nine hits and one walk with nine strikeouts. “ I feel like I’m pretty close right now. Obviously I still have some stuff to work on, but I feel like I’m pretty close to being ready for the season.”
Hanson struck out the side in his final inning Wednesday.
“I really took an emphasis this spring on my fastball command, and throwing everything off of that, instead of worrying about my off-speed stuff so much,” he said. “I think when I get my fastball and I’m commanding it, it’s a lot easier to throw my breaking stuff off of that. So I just put a little more emphasis on it this spring, and obviously it’s helped.”
Hanson was asked if he believed the Braves could keep up with the Phillies in the NL East.
“I think so,” he said. “We definitely have a very tough division. But I think with our team, with our lineup, with our pitching, we’re definitely going to have a chance. Our biggest thing is, every night we go out there we’re definitely going to compete. So I think everybody in here feels really good about our team and going up against anybody.”
After the Red Sox tied the score with two runs in the seventh on three hits against veteran lefty George Sherrill, the Braves regained the lead in the bottom of the inning on an unlikely play: a safety squeeze bunt by backup catcher David Ross that scored catcher Brian McCann. Ross beat the throw for a single…. Freddie Freeman was initially listed as designated hitter, but was replaced by McCann, who wanted to get more at-bats against left-handed pitching…. On the day that Jon Lester was announced as Boston’s opening-day starter, the lefty allowed eight hits and three runs in 4-2/3 innings. Chipper Jones was 2-for-3 to raise his spring average to .375.