Hanson's latest disappointing effort was marred by the miscues the Braves committed during a two-run fifth inning that propelled the Padres to an 8-2 win on Wednesday after-noon at Petco Park.
Instead of providing themselves a chance to return to At-lanta in celebratory fashion, the Braves showed the wears of this 10-game road trip and a stretch of playing a game on 20 consecutive days. Shortstop Paul Janish nearly collided with Chipper Jones on a routine pop fly that began the madness of the fifth inning.
The Braves had a chance to erase some of the damage when they loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth inning. But that opportunity was squandered by an offense that scored two runs or fewer during each of the three games played against the Padres, who had won eight straight games before suffering a shutout loss on Tuesday night.
After losing four of the first five games on this trip, the Braves won three of the last five. They have lost eight of their past 12 games and now have even more reason to be con-cerned about Hanson, who has pitched fewer than five in-nings in three of his past six starts.
Hanson issued a leadoff walk in San Diego's two-run fourth inning and then saw the game slip out of his hands in the fifth inning. He was charged with four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. If Ben Sheets had not been placed on the disabled list, Hanson might not be entering September in the rotation.
After the near collision by Janish and Jones allowed Everth Cabrera to reach on a two-base error in the fifth in-ning, Hanson allowed Will Venable's popped bunt to fall to the ground and slip through his hands as he attempted to field it. After Venable vacated first base by stealing second, Hanson had the option of pitching around Chase Headley, the most dangerous hitter in the Padres' lineup.
But after falling behind with a 3-1 count, Hanson attacked Headley and paid the price, as the talented third baseman sent a two-run single to right field.
Unfortunately for the Braves, they did not have many op-portunities against Padres left-hander Eric Stults, who al-lowed one unearned run and five hits in six innings. Atlanta's only run came with the assistance of a throwing error by sec-ond baseman Logan Forsythe made while attempting to turn a double play in the fourth inning.
After the Braves loaded the bases against Stults in the sixth inning, manager Fredi Gonzalez chose not to pinch-hit for Janish. The shortstop responded by popping up a first-pitch slider.
Gonzalez's decision was influenced by the fact that Stults entered the game having limited left-handed batters to a .129 (8-for-62) batting average. His only right-handed batter on the bench was backup infielder Tyler Pastornicky, whose defen-sive shortcomings might have also affected Gonzalez's deci-sion to keep Janish in the game.