The Atlanta Braves are looking to finish their road trip with a winning record before starting a stretch of 10 consecutive games at Turner Field. Not having to face Miami Marlins star shortstop Hanley Ramirez could make that easier.
Atlanta takes on a Marlins team that sent Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a stunning deal Wednesday morning, hours before the club faced the Braves in the finale of a three-game set.
Disappointing Miami made its second big trade in as many days by shipping out Ramirez, a former NL batting champion. The third baseman was dealt along with reliever Randy Choate for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and a minor leaguer, ending his seven-year stint with the franchise.
The Braves (53-44) should be happy to not face Ramirez as they look to finish their seven-game trip with a winning mark after beating Miami 4-3 on Tuesday. They'll turn to Tommy Hanson (10-5, 4.50 ERA) to help them do so before opening a homestand that includes series against last-place clubs Philadelphia and Houston, which surround a four-game set against the Marlins (45-52).
Hanson, the team leader in wins and strikeouts with 103, is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts at Miami, and he owns a 7-2 record and 3.94 ERA in 11 road outings this season.
The right-hander, however, was battered Friday, surrendering a season-high eight runs and two homers with four walks in four innings of an 11-10 win in 11 at Washington.
"I need to do a better job," Hanson told the team's official website. "If I give up solo home runs, I'm fine with that. It's three-run home runs that kill you."
He's given up a career-high 19 homers on the season.
"I think a lot of them I have been trying to be aggressive," Hanson said. "When nobody is on base, I want you to put it in play. That has happened a lot. I'm just trying to be a lot more aggressive and not walk guys. But as soon as guys get on, I start to nitpick and I just need to stay aggressive."
Hanson needs one win to match his career high set in 2009 and equaled last year.
Chipper Jones is batting .364 in his last 24 games, a stretch that has seen him manage at least one hit in 22 of those contests, including the first two meetings of this series.
The All-Star third baseman is 15 for 44 (.341) with four homers and five doubles against Ricky Nolasco (8-8, 4.55), Miami's scheduled starter.
The Marlins have dropped six of seven while averaging 1.7 runs and hitting .146 with runners in scoring position.
Jose Reyes has been a rare offensive bright spot lately, batting .333 with three homers in his past 12 games after connecting for a two-run shot Tuesday. He has four hits in this series and is 5 for 13 with two doubles versus Hanson.
Nolasco is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in his last eight home starts against the Braves and 5-8 with a 5.03 ERA in 20 overall starts versus Atlanta.
The right-hander was charged with a 7-0 loss at Atlanta on May 17, surrendering four runs and seven hits before getting pulled after four innings.
Nolasco hasn't been much better recently, losing his last two starts while giving up eight runs in 11 1-3 innings.
Braves catcher Brian McCann is batting .347 (17 for 49) with six homers when facing Nolasco, his most against any pitcher.
|July 21, 2012||Matt Diaz||15-Day DL||Right thumb contusion|
|July 14, 2012||Jack Wilson||15-Day DL||Dislocated right pinkie finger|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||15-Day DL||Broken right pinkie finger|
|July 08, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 05, 2012||Jonny Venters||15-Day DL||Left elbow impingement|
|July 23, 2012||Juan Carlos Oviedo||15-Day DL||Right elbow sprain|
|July 08, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||15-Day DL||Arthroscopic right knee surgery|
|July 08, 2012||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Right finger laceration|
|July 06, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|June 30, 2012||Edward Mujica||15-Day DL||Fractured right pinkie toe|
|June 30, 2012||Edward Mujica||15-Day DL||Fractured right pinkie toe|
MIAMI (AP) -- As a backup to Chipper Jones , Juan Francisco patiently waits for his chance.
Francisco took advantage of an opportunity when Jones got Wednesday afternoon off. Francisco homered and drove in three runs, helping the Atlanta Braves beat Miami 7-1 after the downsizing Marlins jettisoned yet another star player by trading Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers .
"I was picking up the pitches well today," Francisco said. "I was aggressive, but at the same time patient, not swinging at pitches wildly."
Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward also homered to back Tommy Hanson (11-5), who pitched around a career-high seven walks and seven Marlins steals.
"Seven walks and seven stolen bases, to go out and pitch five innings and give up a run, I have no idea how I did that," Hanson said. "I don't even know if that's ever happened. I was just having a hard time locating my fastball and throwing strikes when I needed to. The good part is that we won and, hopefully, I can do a better job next time."
The last pitcher to accomplish the feat had been Seattle's Randy Johnson , who walked seven as the Mariners beat Oakland 14-6 on July 29, 1989, during a game in which the Athletics had eight steals, according to STATS LLC.
Hanson allowed one run and three hits in five innings.
"He got his 11th win without being too sharp," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Good for us."
Ricky Nolasco (8-9) gave up six runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, dropping to 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA against the Braves this season.
A Marlins Park-record crowd of 36,711 watched the most steals by a team in the major leagues this season and the high for the Marlins since 2002. Jose Reyes and Donovan Solano each had two stolen bases as the Marlins were caught just once.
"The game was pretty confusing," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "In five innings we stole seven bases, walked seven times, had three doubles, and we score one. Sometimes you think about it and you shake your head how that thing can happen."
Miami, which has traded Anibal Sanchez and Ramirez this week, appears to be embarking on its third fire sale of stars, following selloffs in 1997 and 2003. The Marlins were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
"We need to step up with runners in scoring position," center fielder Justin Ruggiano said. "Whatever that means. Maybe that means be a little bit more aggressive, maybe that means stop swinging at pitches in the dirt, I don't know. As a team we need to have a better effort and focus a little more. It's time for it to stop being the plague of the Marlins because that's all we hear about."
Ruggiano's second double of the game gave Miami a 1-0 lead in the third.
Freddie Freeman hit a tying single in the fourth and Francisco followed with a drive into the right-field upper deck estimated at 435 feet.
"I felt good went it left the bat," Francisco said. "I knew it was well hit."
Bourn's two-run homer made it 5-1 in the fifth.
"I made two mistakes giving up two-run homers and that's the game," Nolasco said. "Two balls that came back over the plate, didn't want to do that. Two good hitters, not going to miss those pitches too often in the big leagues so it put us in the hole."
Francisco's RBI single chased Nolasco.
"Nolasco was off, very off," Guillen said.
Heyward hit his 15th homer of the year, an eighth-inning drive off Wade LeBlanc .
NOTES: A crowd of 36,601 witnessed the first game at Marlins Park on April 4 against St. Louis. ... Miami batters tied their season high with 14 strikeouts, including four by Brett Hayes . ... Francisco came into the game hitting .222 (4 for 18) in July. ... RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-6, 4.15 ERA), acquired from Dodgers, will start Saturday against San Diego as LeBlanc remains in the bullpen. ... Both teams are off on Thursday with Braves RHP Ben Sheets (2-0, 0.00 ERA) pitching the series opener Friday against Philadelphia. Marlins RHP Carlos Zambrano (5-8, 4.42 ERA) will face Padres RHP Kip Wells (1-3, 4.00 ERA).