Hanson regains old form in win

ATLANTA --- Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox had a quick answer when asked how Tommy Hanson returned to his winning form.


"Strike one," Cox said.

Hanson made an adjustment in his delivery and, relying on first-pitch strikes, did not give up an earned run in his recovery from back-to-back ugly losses, leading Atlanta to a 4-1 win over the Florida Marlins on Saturday.

Hanson (8-5) allowed five hits and an unearned run with eight strikeouts and two walks in 6w innings. The second-year right-hander's return to form came after he yielded a combined 15 runs in two consecutive losses while failing to make it out of the fourth inning in both starts.

By Cox's count, Hanson threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of 29 batters. He threw 106 pitches, including 71 for strikes.

"That's huge for him. I think that's the key to pitching to begin with," Cox said of Hanson's success when pitching ahead in the count. "He had his overpowering stuff today."

Hanson made an adjustment in his delivery after studying video with pitching coach Roger McDowell, who noticed the right-hander wasn't starting with his motion high enough. As a result of starting his delivery from a lower point, Hanson's pitches were drifting too high in his past two starts.

Hanson said part of his problem was mental.

"I think I just got away from trusting my stuff a little bit, trying to go out there and make a perfect pitch," he said. "I just tried to stay aggressive.

"I think that's the biggest thing I could take away from those two bad outings: Just trust my stuff and stay aggressive."

Hanson, who has never lost more than two decisions in a row, struck out four consecutive batters in the sixth and seventh. He is 3-0 in four career starts against Florida.

"He wasn't striking out anybody early, but he made adjustments," said Florida manager Edwin Rodriguez of Hanson. "We didn't make adjustments."

Billy Wagner, who had a blown save in the Braves' 4-3 win over Florida on Friday, pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.



Ricky Nolasco (7-6, 4.84) vs. Tim Hudson (8-3,2.37)

5:05 p.m. - FSS - Turner Field