McCann big part of Braves run
Atlanta winners of 8 of 11 since All-Star break

Given just one at-bat, Brian McCann didn't get a hit in the All-Star Game. But the Atlanta catcher has had plenty of base knocks since.

So have the rest of the Braves.

Atlanta has won eight of 11 games since the All-Star break and is very much in the wild-card race although still well behind first-place Philadelphia in the National League East.

"We're playing like we've been capable of playing all season," McCann said. "We have a good team. The pitching has been great all year and now we're scoring runs like we can. I think we're a playoff team."

Atlanta needs to keep its momentum going as it opens a three-game series tonight at Florida. The Braves and Marlins are both 51-48 and not far off the wild-card lead.

McCann has been just one of Atlanta's hot hitters. The Braves have scored 67 runs in the 11 games since the All-Star break, scoring seven or more runs six times.

McCann was 3-for-4 in Sunday's 10-2 victory at Milwaukee, smashing two doubles and a home run. The outburst lifted the Duluth resident's average to .306, and he has 25 doubles, 11 homers and 49 RBIs.

McCann, Yunel Escobar, Garret Anderson, Martin Prado and Casey Kotchman have all been on batting binges. On Sunday, Kelly Johnson joined them.

Having regained his confidence during a rehab assignment in the Class AAA International League with Gwinnett, Johnson had three hits against the Brewers. Included were a home run and a double.

Hitting apparently is contagious. Almost all the Braves are getting in on the act.

McCann is batting .349 with six doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs since the All-Star Game, but Anderson and Escobar have been even hotter.

Anderson is hitting .429 with two homers and five RBIs since the All-Star break. Escobar has been even more productive, hitting .400 with four homers and 14 RBIs.

Atlanta has four .300 hitters in the lineup, with Prado batting .315, Escobar .307, McCann .306 and Matt Diaz .302. Anderson and Chipper Jones aren't too far off, at .292 and .290, respectively.

Pitching, though, remains the Braves' strength, with the starting rotation leading the way. Derek Lowe won his 10th game in the series finale with the Brewers and the Braves have three starters with ERA marks under 3.00 - Jair Jurrjens at 2.67, rookie Tommy Hanson at 2.95 and Javier Vazquez at 2.97.

Jurrjens (9-7) will start the series opener against the Marlins tonight and Vazquez (8-7) will pitch the series finale on Thursday.

After the three games in Florida, the Braves come home for a weekend series with the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

The series finale on Sunday has been moved to 8:05 p.m. for an ESPN telecast.