By almost any measure, Brad Hand out-pitched Tommy Hanson. Hand allowed fewer hits. He walked only one batter, where Hanson walked five. They both pitched the same amount of innings. They each struck out six.
Here are the relevant statistics though:
Home runs allowed by Brad Hand: 1
Home runs allowed by Tommy Hanson: 0
Oh, baseball. You fickle, cruel mistress. Alex Gonzalez hit a solo home run for the Atlanta Braves in the fourth inning against the Florida Marlins, and like a wretched ballad, nothing else mattered. The Braves defeated the Marlins 1-0 in Miami on Tuesday night, sending the Marlins to their sixth straight loss.
Hand allowed a walk to the first hitter he faced, Jordan Schafer. That was the only mistake he’d make until the fourth, when he left a fastball over the plate to Adrian Gonzalez. Wait, did I type Adrian Gonzalez? Meant Alex Gonzalez. For this game, at least, it didn’t really make a difference.
Hanson, on the other hand, was adept at spreading out his base runners. He allowed a lead-off double to Chris Coughlan -- nothing. He walked Mike Stanton with one out in the second -- nothing. He walked Coughlan in the third -- nothing. He did get through the fourth without allowing a runner before John Buck singled with one out in the fifth -- nothing. In the sixth, Hanson walked Coughlan again, then walked Gaby Sanchez and Greg Dobbs to load the bases -- nothing.
Hanson did not, however, allow a home run. Hand did. That was the game.
After Hanson was pulled for Eric O’Flaherty in the seventh, the Marlins were able to get a runner to second after Buck singled, and Emilio Bonifacio bunted him to second. Coughlan walked for a third time to put two on with two outs -- nothing.
Alex Gonzalez: 1. Florida Marlins: nothing. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.
The series continues tomorrow with Derek Lowe going up against Ricky Nolasco. If ERAs mean anything at all, each team should score between 3.99 and 4.07 runs. Prediction for the final score: Marlins 4.07, Braves 3.99.