They know how important that could be in September.
Tommy Hanson allowed one run in six innings, Dan Uggla and Chipper Jones came through in a four-run seventh that broke a close game open, and the streaking Braves defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Friday night.
Atlanta won for the 13th time in 16 games after an 0-4 start. Those first four games are long forgotten, but not last year’s historic collapse that cost the Braves a spot in the playoffs.
“Everybody knows how important these games are,” Uggla said. “This will pay dividends in September.”
Hanson (3-2) worked around six hits and three walks, his only blemish an RBI single by Garrett Jones in the fourth.
Kris Medlen worked the final three innings, earning his first career save. Uggla and Jones drove in two runs apiece in the seventh – and both contributed stellar defensive plays as well.
“The biggest thing right now is our starting pitching,” Uggla said. “If we’ve got a lead in the sixth or seventh inning, we’ll always have a pretty good chance. We’re getting some timely hitting, too, some good at-bats, picking each other up. That’s the goal every day.”
Burnett (1-1) went six innings for the Pirates, pitching well but not enough to prevent his eighth loss in nine career decisions at Turner Field.
“You’re always one pitch away from getting out of jams,” he said.
Burnett matched Hanson’s line as far as hits (six) and walks (three).
But the Braves manufactured a couple of runs against the right-hander, who hasn’t won at Turner Field since Oct. 7, 2001, with the Marlins.
This was Burnett’s sixth consecutive loss in Atlanta.