Braves starter Tommy Hanson allowed one run and three hits in five innings Wednesday against the Marlins, but the stranger stat was that Atlanta rolled, 7-1, despite Hanson allowing seven walks and seven stolen bases — the first time that’s happened in the majors since 1989.
LAWRENCEVILLE — Tommy Hanson didn’t think he needed a minor league rehab start and he voiced that emphatically to Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez on Saturday in New York.
Hanson didn’t get his way. But on Sunday, the right-hander backed his words up loud and clear.
Hanson, put on the Atlanta disabled list July 31 because of lower back stiffness, allowed just three hits over five scoreless innings at Coolray Field as Gwinnett defeated Louisville 5-2 before a crowd of 4,446.
His breaking pitches sharp, Hanson struck out five and walked two in the victory. He threw 48 of his 78 pitches for strikes and Louisville didn’t get a runner past second base against him.
"My back felt better, that was the main thing," Hanson said. "I didn't have much time to prepare for this start, but I still went out and made pitches. My off-speed stuff was really good. I felt really good with my curveball and slider. I feel good about the way I threw. I need to work on my fastball command, but I'm looking forward to my next start (with Atlanta)."
Hanson is expected to pitch next weekend during the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field. Gonzalez is mulling possibly going to a six-man rotation temporarily.
Hanson is 12-5 with a 4.29 in 22 games for Atlanta this season. Before going on the disabled list, he had won his last three decisions but been hit hard in two other games. The rehab outing was Hanson’s first Class AAA appearance since he pitched for the G-Braves in the first half of the 2009 season. He was 3-3 despite a 1.49 ERA in 11 starts that year as he often suffered from a lack a run support.
That wasn’t the case against Louisville.
Gwinnett hit three homers in a five-run fourth inning off former G-Braves pitcher Todd Redmond (8-9).
The highlight was a mammoth shot over the backdrop in center field by Ernesto Mejia. His two-run blast was his 24th homer and it pushed his International League-leading RBI total to 85.
G-Braves newcomers Rusty Ryal and Brian Friday homered in the inning as well and Ryal’s blast also came with a runner on.
Louisville’s two runs came in the eighth inning against Peter Moylan. Anthony Varvaro worked a perfect ninth inning for his fifth save.
Ryal and Friday each had two hits. So did Didi Gregorius and Felix Perez for Louisville. Perez had the two RBIs.
Jose Constanza, who has a 30-game on-base streak, was out of the Gwinnett lineup again and has played just once since being hit on the knee by a pitch at Durham on Aug. 2. He is hitting .323, but no longer has enough plate appearances to be listed in the batting race.
Randall Delgado, who was pushed back to make way for Hanson’s rehab start, will pitch in the series finale against the Bats on Monday at 7:05 p.m. as Gwinnett goes for a series victory and a 4-4 homestand.
Delgado is 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA in four starts for the G-Braves after posting a 4-9 record and 4.42 ERA for Atlanta this year.
Gwinnett will begin a six-game road trip to Norfolk and Durham on Tuesday. The final homestand of the season begins Aug. 20, with the Tides, Syracuse and Pawtucket coming in for 10 games.