I'd love to tell you that Tommy Hanson came in and mowed down the Orioles with the dominance he's shown in the the Minors, but that's not really how it happened. In his first win, he went 5 2/3rds innings in which he gave up 9 hits, 2 earned runs and 5 walks. He kept the O's to 2 runs though, allowing the Braves offense to win the game with 7 runs. Brian McCann had a 4-for-4 night with two RBIs, and Escobar and Prado each contributed a homerun. Barbaro Canizares, the other rookie making his Braves debut this week, was 2-for-5 with a double. Even Francoeur contributed an RBI during his 1-for-5 night.
After the game, Hanson said he was happy to notch his first win, even if it wasn't in dominate fashion. He admitted to having to use more changeups last night after the O's smashed around his fastball in the first inning. His ability to adjust during the game like that is what will make him a successful pitcher in the big leagues.
Hanson's effort was backed up by the bullpen, who came in for 3 1/3 innings. Moylan took care of the bottom of the sixth, followed by O'Flaherty who worked a scoreless seventh. Soriano got into a little trouble in the eighth, but pitched out of it with no damage, and Gonzo finished things off in the ninth.
Tonight's matchup pits Kenshin Kawakami (3-6, 4.62 ERA) against LHP Rich Hill (2-1, 5.24). Hill's career in the big leagues has been tumultuous. He made his Major League debut in 2005 with the Chicago Cubs, where he went 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA. He began 2006 with the Cubs AAA affiliate but was called up in May for one game. He came back up in July of that year and finally got his first win in August. From there he went on to post a 6-3 record that included two complete games, one a shutout. In 2007, Hill managed to spend the entire year in the big leagues as the Cubs #4 starter and went 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA. But Hill's struggles weren't over, in 2008 he'd be sent down to AAA after a dismal preseason that continued into April and May. Within a couple of months, Hill would find himself in Rookie ball. Just when all hope was almost lost, Hill finally began to rebound a little and was sent up to the A team. Hill was traded to the O's in February of this year and made his first start in May. In five starts, he's gone 2-1 with a 5.24 ERA. Opposing batters are batting .238 against him this year, with only one homerun. The Braves batters will be watching tonight or his fastball that tops out in the low 90s, a changeup and his strong curveball. The Braves and O's will face off tonight at 7:05 p.m. on SportSouth.