Hanson, LaRoche help Braves blank Mets
Thanks to Adam LaRoche, rookie Tommy Hanson didn't have to worry about his 10th win slipping away again. Hanson cruised through another start, pitching seven innings, and LaRoche homered twice and drove in three runs to lead the Atlanta Braves to their fifth straight win, 6-0 over the visiting New York Mets last night.
Thanks to Adam LaRoche, rookie Tommy Hanson didn't have to worry about his 10th win slipping away again.
Hanson cruised through another start, pitching seven innings, and LaRoche homered twice and drove in three runs to lead the Atlanta Braves to their fifth straight win, 6-0 over the visiting New York Mets last night.
Nate McLouth had three RBI, but this was largely a two-man effort.
Hanson (10-3) has allowed just one run in his last 20 innings to reach double-figure wins in a brilliant debut season. He could have had No. 10 in his last start, pitching eight scoreless inning at Houston, only to have Rafael Soriano blow it in the ninth of a 2-1 loss.
"It was nice to get a few runs early," said Hanson, who allowed three hits, walked three and struck out eight. "The last few outings, everything has felt good."
The winning streak has likely come a little late for the Braves, who remained 7 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. They started the day trailing wild-card leader Colorado by six games.
"We have absolutely nothing to lose. We have zero pressure," LaRoche said. "We're in a bad position. Everyone is just going out there and doing their thing."
LaRoche went 4-for-4, including solo homers in the second and the sixth, giving him 25 this season - 12 since he was acquired from the Boston Red Sox on July 31. He had an RBI double in the fourth, and a leadoff double in the eighth.
LaRoche scored four runs and became the first Braves player to have four extra-base hits in a game since doing it himself during his first stint with the team, on Aug. 30, 2006.
"I'm just swinging at good pitches," he said. "I get in trouble when I start chasing."
McLouth's two-run double off Pat Misch (1-3) finished off a three-run fourth that gave the Braves a 4-0 lead before a sparse crowd at Turner Field. McLouth had another double in the ninth, driving in the final run.
The Mets, who have lost seven of eight, managed one hit off Hanson through the first six innings. They finally strung together a couple of hits in the seventh, but Anderson Hernandez grounded out to end the threat.
"He looks like a very good young pitcher," New York manager Jerry Manuel said.
In other games:
* At Chicago, Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto contributed three RBI apiece, leading the Cubs to a 13-7 win over Milwaukee.
* At San Diego, Mark Reynolds' two-run homer in the ninth inning lifted the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Padres, 4-2.
* At Cincinnati, Paul Janish drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning with his third double, leading the Reds to a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros. Daniel Ray Herrera (4-4) struck out Michael Bourn, the only batter he faced, to end the seventh and earn the win.
* At St. Louis, rookie Sean West had a season-high nine strikeouts to outpitch 18-game winner Adam Wainwright and Dan Uggla's two-run homer in the sixth was the go-ahead hit in the Florida Marlins' 2-1 victory over the Cardinals.
* The Nationals announced that their No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg will report to the team's training complex in Viera, Fla., on Friday to begin pitching in the Florida Instructional League. The first game is Sept. 24 and the season runs through Oct. 13. The team also plans to have Strasburg pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
* Oft-injured Houston Astros pitcher Mike Hampton has undergone surgery for a torn left rotator cuff and other damage in his shoulder that will sideline him for the 2010 season, the team said.