Atlanta starting pitcher Tommy Hanson lowers his head as he sits in the dugout after being pulled in the fourth inning of the Braves’ 8-2 loss to St. Louis on Monday. It was Atlanta’s eighth loss in a row.
ATLANTA — Tommy Hanson says the Braves aren’t panicking after their longest losing streak in two years reached eight games.
Perhaps not, but the sense of urgency in the clubhouse is growing.
Lance Lynn joined Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels as the major leagues’ first eight-game winners, and the St. Louis Cardinals’ beat the Braves 8-2 Monday to leave Atlanta in its losing funk.
Atlanta is on its worst skid since losing nine in a row from April 21-29, 2010. The Braves have fallen from first place to a last-place tie with the Phillies in the NL East at 26-24.
“We’ve got to turn this thing around — soon,” catcher Brian McCann said. “We’ve just got to stay afloat.”
“We’ve always been known for our pitching, and we will,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re just going through a stretch right now.”
Atlanta was held to five hits one day after managing only three hits in a 7-2 loss to Washington.
“Two runs a game ain’t getting it,” Gonzalez said. “Getting two runs and giving up four and five ain’t doing it, either.”
Hanson (5-4) gave up a season-high six runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings.
“I don’t think anybody’s panicking right now. We’re still above .500,” said Hanson, who had given up no more than two runs in his previous four starts.
Lynn (8-1) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, striking out eight. While he was dominating the Braves, Hamels pitched the Phillies to an 8-4 win at the Mets.
Lynn had lost to the Braves 7-4 on May 13 in St. Louis.
“They played a great game against me that game in St. Louis, and there was a little added incentive to be sure,” Lynn said.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Lynn threw “probably his best game.” He said Lynn, who was making his 10th start of the season and 12th of his career, isn’t sneaking up on any teams.
“You figure at this point they’ve seen quite a bit of him and he’s not a secret in the league anymore,” Matheny said.
Daniel Descalso hit a two-run homer as a fill-in starter at third base for David Freese, who was given a day off with a mild sprain of his right hand.
Rafael Furcal had three hits, including a homer, and Matt Adams had three hits with three RBIs for St. Louis.
Marc Rzepczynski and Eduardo Sanchez followed Lynn with hitless relief, completing a five-hitter.
Hanson left the bases loaded in the first and stranded a runner on third base in the second, then fell behind 4-0 in the third.
Matt Holliday singled and scored on McCann’s passed ball. After Carlos Beltran was caught in a rundown between third and home when he broke for the plate on a pitch, Yadier Molina singled in a run and Descalso followed with his second home run this season.
Furcal’s home run off Hanson and Adams’ RBI single off Kris Medlen made it 6-0 in the fourth.
Juan Francisco had a two-run single in the bottom half. Adams added a two-run double against Medlen in the sixth.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman didn’t start for the third straight day due to vision problems.
Freeman said he can’t wear contacts because his tear ducts aren’t producing. He can’t wear normal glasses when playing because he can’t see when hitting from his closed stance. He said he hopes prescription sports goggles will arrive today.
Atlanta arranged a Memorial Day surprise for the family of Air Force Sgt. David Sims in the middle of the fifth inning.
Sims’ wife, Robin, and four children were on the field to see his message to the family shown on the Braves video board. Sims, who has been serving in Afghanistan, emerged on the field after the video and was quickly engulfed by a group hug from his children, followed by a long embrace from his wife, as the crowd of 42,426 cheered.
NOTES: Matheny said Freese could play but added he wanted to “nip it in the bud” so Freese’s hand will heal. … Molina started after leaving Sunday’s game early due to dehydration. … Matheny said Cardinals INF-OF Allen Craig (left hamstring strain) is expected to be ready to come off the DL on Friday. … McCann (illness) was 0-for-4 in his first start since May 21. … Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook will face RHP Randall Delgado tonight.