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Braves recap 5/10

May 10, 2010

Prado’s career night helps Braves slam Crew

MILWAUKEE — As he watched his team take batting practice before Monday’s game, manager Bobby Cox couldn’t help but notice the way the ball jumped off the Braves’ bats at Miller Park. In the sixth inning, the Brewers noticed, too.

After struggling mightily of late offensively, the Braves broke out against the Brewers on Monday, riding a six-run sixth inning — which included two home runs — to an 8-2 victory at Miller Park.

With his team up, 1-0, entering the inning, first baseman Troy Glaus crushed a 2-2 fastball from Milwaukee lefty Doug Davis (1-4) deep to center field and out, snapping Atlanta’s homerless streak of 169 at-bats.

Seven batters and one pitching change later, second baseman Martin Prado drove an 0-1 fastball from left-handed reliever Manny Parra out to left for his first career grand slam, making it 7-0 in favor of the Braves.

“He had a huge night,” Cox said of Prado, who also drove in the Braves’ first run of the game and finished with a career-high five RBIs. “Prado’s ball would’ve been out anywhere. That’s for darn sure.”

Prado’s grand slam was the first of the season for the Braves and the first since catcher Brian McCann’s grand slam on July 25, 2008, off Brad Lidge in Philadelphia. The Braves had gone 253 games without a grand slam, which was the longest-active streak.

The Royals, at 136 games, now own the longest streak of games without a grand slam.

The Braves added a run in the ninth off reliever Claudio Vargas and their eight runs proved to be more than enough.

Right-hander Tommy Hanson (3-2) pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out eight. Hanson, whose eight innings matched a career high, kept the Brewers off-balance throughout the game, mixing up his pitches and locating well.

“It definitely feels good,” Hanson said. “I just want to go strike one, strike two as much as I can and go out there and be aggressive. It feels good to go deep into the game, and that’s what I want to do. So the couple times that I did do it, it feels good.”

Hanson was especially effective when pitching ahead of hitters, which he did against 17 of the 29 batters he faced.

Facing a Brewers lineup that led the Majors in runs scored entering the game, Hanson used four pitches — fastball, slider, curveball and changeup — to keep the home team off the board through eight innings.

Only four Brewers — Joe Inglett, Prince Fielder, Casey McGehee and Jim Edmonds — hit safely against Hanson, while none were better than 1-for-3 against him.

“I’m not exactly sure what his numbers were last year, but it’s not by accident,” said McGehee, referring to Hanson’s runner-up finish in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting in 2009. “He’s got command of his fastball and he’s got really good command of an above-average slider. That makes for a pretty good combination.”

Glaus, who also singled and walked on the night, has hit safely in six straight games for the Braves. Over his past 15 games, Glaus is batting .358 with two doubles, a home run, 11 RBIs and 11 walks.

With two homers at Miller Park, the Braves increased their road home run total by 25 percent, from eight to 10. More important than the statistics, though, is the positive energy the team got from such a lopsided victory.

After such a difficult stretch of games, losing 13 of their past 18 games, the Braves hope Monday night’s big win could be the start of a more positive streak.

“We’ve been pretty positive the last two weeks, [but] it’s been tough,” Prado said. “I think we’re going to turn it around and start a winning streak. This kind of game is what we need to start something good.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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