When a badly damaged shoulder hindered Brian McCann for most of a career-worst season in 2012, some folks suggested the veteran catcher’s best days were behind him, that he might not be a truly elite hitter again.

Nobody is saying that now.

McCann hit a tie-breaking, three-run homer with two outs in the sixth inning Friday, lifting the Braves to a 6-4 win against the Chicago White Sox in their first game since the All-Star break.
“I’ve been feeling good for a while now,” said McCann, who has hit .400 with six homers and 18 RBIs in his past 17 games.

Andrelton Simmons also hit a two-run homer for the Braves, who got 7 1/3 innings from Tim Hudson for his third consecutive win and his first in five starts at U.S. Cellular Field. Hudson (7-7) was charged with eight hits, four runs and two walks, the last two runs coming in the eighth, including one after he left the game.

The White Sox cut the lead to 5-4 in the eighth, but Chris Johnson’s two-out single in the ninth provided a two-run cushion for Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, who converted his 27th save.

McCann picked up where he left off at the break, fouling off six pitches before homering on the 11th pitch of his sixth-inning at-bat against left-hander John Danks (2-7). McCann has homered in each of his past three games, and has 12 extra-base hits in his past 17 games.

“He looks really good,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s a presence in that middle lineup.”
His three-week tear before the break earned McCann a spot on the National League All-Star team as an injury replacement for teammate Freddie Freeman, the seventh All-Star berth in McCann’s eight full seasons in the majors.

“I got to swing a little bit over the All-Star break at the game (during batting practice),” McCann said. “I think it takes every player in baseball four or five innings to get back in the swing of things after you take four or five days off. It was nice to get it in the first game back.”

With the score tied 2-all, rookie Joey Terdoslavich — filling in for Freeman in his second major league start — singled to start the sixth inning. After a failed bunt attempt by Jose Constanza and a strikeout, Justin Upton singled and the Braves had two on for McCann.