As a result, Tommy Hanson’s frustrations were extended by the two costly mistakes that blemished his otherwise encouraging start on Tuesday.
Hanson surrendered a pair of solo home runs on two-strike pitches, and the Braves were unable to take advantage of a few scoring opportunities in their 6-0 loss to the Rockies at Turner Field.
The homers, to Carlos Gonzalez and Jordan Pacheco, proved to be enough to doom the Braves, who recorded eight hits en route to their 12th shutout loss of the season.
This offensive performance contrasted the one produced on Monday, when Atlanta gained a six-run lead with the benefit of just two hits.
While scoring two runs or fewer for the fifth time in their past eight games, the Braves halted some of the momentum generated when Chipper Jones capped Sunday night’s five-run ninth with a walk-off homer off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Hanson retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced before allowing Gonzalez to open the scoring with a towering home run that landed more than halfway up the pavilion-level seats located just to the right of dead center.
The long shot was hit on a 1-2 slider that found too much of the plate.
After following Gonzalez’s homer with a pair of strikeouts, Hanson opened the fifth by hanging an 0-2 curveball that Pacheco hit over the left-field wall.
With Randall Delgado already part of the expanded roster, there was some reason to wonder if Hanson might be pitching to keep his place in the rotation.
He had struggled with his fastball command since the All-Star break and had lasted fewer than five innings in his two previous starts.
But other than making mistakes with the two-strike pitches, Hanson showed some signs of improvement.
He threw 61 of his 96 pitches for strikes and issued just one walk in 5 2/3 innings.
That lone walk loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth inning and prompted the entry of Peter Moylan, who promptly escaped the threat unscathed.
This marked the first time in his past eight starts that Hanson issued one walk or fewer. The two home runs he surrendered matched the total he had allowed over his previous five starts combined.
Moylan’s five-pitch walk to Rockies reliever Carlos Torres helped Colorado increase its lead with a pair of runs in the seventh inning. They added two more runs in the eighth inning against Chad Durbin.
Using a four-man rotation that limits their starters to approximately 75 pitches, the Rockies lifted Drew Pomeranz after he scattered five hits over three scoreless innings. Michael Bourn was caught stealing third base in the first inning, and a pair of third-inning singles went to waste when Martin Prado lined out to left field to end the inning.
Consecutive singles by Prado and Jason Heyward put runners at the corners with one out in the sixth inning, but that threat ended when David Ross swung through a third strike during a hit-and-run play that left Heyward no choice but to get in a rundown between first and second. This led Prado to make an unsuccessful attempt to score on the play.