Kris Medlen produced another strong start that was limited to six innings because of a rain delay, and Dan Uggla extended his recent success with his first three-hit performance in exactly a month. After recording shutout victories in each of their previous three games, the Braves saw their pitching staff bid adieu to its 31-inning scoreless streak.
But as the Braves recorded their fourth straight win and sixth in their past seven games, the spotlight was fixed on McCann, who matched a career-best four-hit performance and finished a triple short of the cycle.
"The at-bats for McCann have been good, and Danny's have been better," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Now they're getting results."
Exactly one week after receiving a second cortisone shot in less than a month in his bothersome right shoulder, McCann looked like the healthy and productive catcher that he has been throughout much of his career, including July, when he hit nine home runs.
McCann fueled a decisive four-run third inning with a two-run double and then added a two-run home run in the fifth. He entered this game without an extra-base hit in the 24 games he had played dating back to when he homered and doubled in a July 31 win over the Marlins. His four RBIs doubled the total he had compiled during this 24-game span.
"Once I got the second shot, it calmed it down a lot more to where I feel I can do more with the bat and hit the proper way," McCann said. "I'm hoping to keep it going."
With a little more than three weeks remaining in the regular season, Uggla finds himself sharing this same mindset with McCann. The All-Star second baseman was left out of the lineup during the first three games played this week, and he has batted just .167 in his past 79 games. But the past few days have provided an indication he is set to turn things around.
After hitting a double and a homer in Friday night's 3-0 win over the Mets, Uggla notched three singles on Saturday and drew walks in his other two plate appearances. This marked the sixth time in his career that he reached safely via a hit or a walk in five plate appearances. He also did this during a big comeback win over the Nationals on July 20.
"He's looking really, really good," McCann said. "He's the type of player that can ride this thing out and put us on his back for the rest of the season. We've seen him do it many, many times. ... You get him clicking and myself clicking, we're going to be tough to beat."
Actually, the Braves have been hardest to beat when Medlen has been on the mound dating back to the 2010 season. They have now won each of the past 19 games started by the fearless right-hander, who has posted a 0.81 ERA in the eight starts he has made this season since making the conversion from reliever to starter.
Medlen allowed two earned runs and four hits in six innings. His performance was cut short by a 75-minute rain delay that began at the start of the seventh inning.
As he assessed his performance, Medlen said it was not as sharp as many of his most recent outings. Uggla's inability to get the lead runner on a potential double-play grounder in the fourth inning gave Lucas Duda a chance to score David Wright with a single.
This put an end to Medlen's streak of not allowing an earned run at 40 1/3 consecutive innings. The last earned run he had surrendered was scored during the second inning of his Aug. 11 start against the Mets.
Medlen also allowed Ronny Cedeno to homer in the sixth inning on a changeup that he knew was destined for disaster during his delivery.
"I definitely wasn't as crisp as I was recently," Medlen said. "But six innings, two runs, you can't really argue with that. Everything felt pretty good when I needed it."
When the Braves were unable to take advantage of Michael Bourn's leadoff double in the first inning, they looked much like they had while batting .140 (22-for-157) with runners in scoring position over their previous 20 games. But Jose Constanza's RBI infield single in the second inning seemed to alter the fortunes of the visitors, who saw Jason Heyward, McCann and Medlen all record doubles off Jeremy Hefner in the four-run third.
"This type of game, they're not going to come very often," Gonzalez said. "I've always said I'd rather be a pitching and defensive team, but it sure is nice every once in a while. This is what we're capable of -- not 11 runs -- but we're capable of scoring five or six and giving our pitchers a little bit of a breather."