Tommy Hanson shook off an agonizing start to outpitch Gio Gonzalez as the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 on Sunday to end a six-game losing streak against their NL East rivals.
Hanson (6-4) gave up homers to the first two batters he faced, with Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper connecting on consecutive pitches. They became the first pair of rookies in modern baseball history to homer in succession leading off a game, the Nationals said in citing the Elias Sports Bureau.
Hanson then blanked the Nationals over the next six innings. The right-hander allowed two runs, six hits and no walks in seven innings.
Eric O’Flaherty worked the eighth and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 tries.
METS 6, CARDINALS 1
In New York, Jonathon Niese struck out a career-high 10 batters in six scoreless innings as New York shut down St Louis for the third straight game, getting a homer and three RBIs from rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Andres Torres added a two-run triple and finished a homer shy of the cycle. Nieuwenhuis, batting leadoff, also had three hits.
Niese (4-2) became the latest New York pitcher to dominate the Cardinals, following Johan Santana’s no-hitter in the series opener Friday night — the first in Mets history — and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey’s seven-hit shutout on Saturday.
The only thing that prevented the Cardinals from being blanked in three consecutive games for the first time since October 1976 was a two-out RBI single by Adron Chambers in the eighth off Elvin Ramirez, who was making his major league debut.
GIANTS 2, CUBS 0
In San Francisco, Barry Zito pitched 8-1/3 scoreless innings for his 150th career win and Joaquin Arias snapped an 18 at-bat hitless stretch with an RBI single that led San Francisco over Chicago.
Zito (5-2) was rarely threatened by the struggling Cubs, allowing just four hits and two walks before leaving to a standing ovation after a one-walk to Darwin Barney in the ninth. Sergio Romo finished for his second save.
Travis Wood (0-2) was the tough-luck loser for the Cubs, allowing just one run and three hits in seven innings as Chicago fell for the 15th time in 18 games. The Cubs have also lost 10 straight road games for their longest skid away from Wrigley Field since dropping 10 in a row in September 2000.
MARLINS 5, PHILLIES 1
In Philadelphia, Carlos Zambrano homered and pitched into the eighth inning and Hanley Ramirez also went deep to lead Miami over the Phillies.
Zambrano (4-3) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out seven in before leaving with two outs in the eighth to win for the seventh time in nine games.
Zambrano leads all pitchers since 1974 with 24 career home runs. He connected against Joe Blanton (4-6).
Heath Bell came on with two on and one out in the ninth and got a pair of groundouts for his 12th save in 16 chances.
In other NL action, it was:
‧ Astros 5, Reds 3
‧ Rockies 3, Dodgers 2
‧ Diamondbacks 6, Padres 0
‧ Pirate 6, Brewers 5
AP, DETROIT, MICHIGAN
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each homered off Justin Verlander and Phil Hughes pitched a four-hitter to lead the New York Yankees to a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
Jeter homered on the first pitch of the game and Rodriguez hit a long solo shot in the third inning. Hughes (5-5) didn’t need much support in throwing his first career complete game of nine innings — on Aug. 2 last year, he went all six innings in a rain-shortened win over the White Sox.