They wanted Tommy Hanson to put it together and get on board the train Thursday, and the Braves couldn’t have asked for a better opponent than the Marlins to help make it happen.
The Braves erased an early two-run deficit with a four-run fourth and beat the Marlins 6-2 to complete a series sweep at Turner Field, pushing their winning streak to five games and snapping Hanson’s winless streak at seven starts.
Dan Uggla had two hits and three RBIs and David Ross and Andrelton Simmons added two hits apiece for the Braves, who won for the 17th time in 23 games and moved to 10-2 with a 2.09 ERA in their past 12.
“We’re playing good baseball and doing what we need to do,” Uggla said. “We’ve got six games left, so we’ve just got to keep taking care of business and keep going in the direction we’re going.”
Uggla has played two games with painful cuts and medical staples on his right hand from an accident during Tuesday’s celebration after the Braves clinched a postseason berth. He stuck his hand into a barrel cooler to get a beer and slashed it on a champagne class someone had dropped in the barrel.
“Danny had a great night offensively,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “A big two RBIs there in the seventh inning for us not to use [Craig] Kimbrel in the ninth. That was nice…. Earlier this month we talked about if [Uggla] got hot, he could carry us. That’s what we’re seeing from him right now.”
Uggla has hit .290 with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBIs in his past 18 games, after batting .151 with 17 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs in 77 games from June 6 through Aug. 6.
The Braves are still four games behind National League East leader Washington, which beat Philadelphia 7-3. With only six games to play, their chances are slim of catching the Nationals for the division title.
After clinching a postseason berth Tuesday and securing home-field advantage over the other wild-card team on Wednesday, the Braves are currently projected to host St. Louis in the NL Wild Card game on Friday, Oct. 5.
“We’re having success because we’re going about our business the right way at the right time of the year,” said Chipper Jones, who is halfway through his first regular-season homestand and tipped his helmet to a standing ovation when he came to bat to lead off the second inning. “That was pretty fun. I wish I’d have played a little better tonight, but the rest of the guys picked up the slack….
“I don’t want to miss any games from here on out. I don’t know how the rest of the guys feel about that, but I think until we’re out of the division [race] or we catch somebody, everybody’s going to be in there pretty much the whole time.”
Hanson (13-9) allowed six hits and two runs (one earned) in 5-1/3 innings and won for the first time since his back-to-back wins against Miami in the last week of July. In his past 10 starts, he’s 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA in three starts against the Marlins, and 0-4 with a 5.06 ERA in seven against everyone else.
“He did OK,” Gonzalez said of Hanson, who two walks with four strikeouts. “He kept us in the ballgame. He kind of scattered the ball around a little bit command-wise, but he made some pitches when he had to and only gave up two runs. We were able to score some runs for him and shut it down there with our bullpen. So he did OK.”
The Braves trailed 2-0 and had only just hit until the fourth inning, when they got four consecutive one-out hits against Marlins rookie starter Jacob Turner (1-4) and batted around their order.
Freddie Freeman got the inning going with a one-out and scored when Uggla lashed a double to the left-field corner. Ross surprised the Marlins by dropping a perfect bunt down the third-base line for a single, and Simmons followed with a game-tying double.
One out and one Jose Constanza walk later, Martin Prado hit a line drive that popped out of the glove of left fielder Bryan Petersen. Two runs scored on the play and the Braves had a 4-2 lead. Uggla added a two-run single in the seventh.
The Braves scored four runs while Hanson was in the game, after not scoring more than two while he was in any game since his two starts against the Marlins July 25 and July 30. They scored six runs while he was in each of those, but one or no runs while he was in five of his past seven starts.
Not that poor run support that’s been the biggest issue for Hanson, who just hasn’t pitched well or deep into games since the All-Star break. He was 2-4 with a 5.88 ERA in his past 11 starts before Thursday.
“I felt OK,” he said. “I struggled a little bit in the second, but I thought I did all right. Not great, not bad, just kind of middle of the road. I would have liked to have gone a little deeper, obviously. It’s nice to get a win; It’s been a while since I got a win. So I’ll take it. We swung the bats well and we swept a team.”
He pitched Thursday like a guy who might merit some consideration for the postseason roster, although the Braves have four starters who’ve pitched better — Kris Medlen, Tim Hudson, Mike Minor and Paul Maholm.
Also, the Braves won’t face the Marlins in the postseason. Hanson is 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA in 12 career starts against the Marlins, including 5-1 with a 1.47 ERA in his past seven.
The Braves finished their season series with a 14-4 record against Miami.
After leaving the bases loaded against Hanson in the second inning, the Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the third on doubles by Petersen and Carlos Lee, who hit a hanging 1-2 slider with two out.
The Braves stranded two in scoring position in the bottom of the third when Jason Heyward struck out to end the inning, and the Marlins scored an unearned run in the fourth when Scott Cousins singled, advanced on Hanson’s errant pickoff throw to first, and scored on a double by No. 8 hitter Gil Velazquez.
Hanson seemed revived by the Braves’ four-run fourth inning. He retired the Marlins in order in the fifth and induced a leadoff groundout in the sixth before Donovan Solano singled. Gonzalez went to the bullpen at that point, and rookie left-hander Luis Avilan got the next two batters on groundouts to end the inning.
Jonny Venters allowed one hit in two relief innings for the Braves, whose 2.95 ERA since the All-Star break is the NL leader by more than fourth-tenths of a run.