Coming back from an oblique strain in less than three weeks is a tall order for any hitter, as Brian McCann learned in his first 10 games back with the Braves.
He vented some frustration against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, driving in four runs with a pair of homers in an 8-3 win that gave the Braves another series victory at Wrigley Field.
"He came in after the first homer and said, 'I think I've got my stroke back,'" said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose Braves won three of four games in the series and have won 14 of their past 18 to build a commanding lead in the wild-card race.
Michael Bourn matched a career high with his first four-hit game since being traded to the Braves, who trimmed a half-game from idle Philadelphia's lead in the National League East.
The Phillies are six games ahead of the Braves, who lead San Francisco by nine games in the wild-card race, pending the outcome of the Giants' late game against Houston.
McCann snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a three-run homer in the first inning off Matt Garza (6-10) and added a solo homer in the seventh off left-hander John Grabow, his third multi-homer game this season.
"I just haven't really swung the bat that great since coming off the DL," said McCann, who had a .139 average with two homers and three RBIs in 10 games since returning to the lineup. "When you don't feel good and you face good pitching, that's going to expose you. I've been working in the cage the last three or four days trying to find it, and today I made strides."
McCann homers twice in Braves' series-clinching win
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Aug 26