PHOENIX -- Leave it to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to credit catcher Brian McCann for his work with starter Tommy Hanson on Saturday and the rest of the pitching staff this week in Arizona. A humble McCann sure isn't going to credit himself. "I give a lot of credit to [pitching coach] Roger McDowell," McCann said. "To me, Roger McDowell is the best in the business. I've never been around anyone that understands the game of baseball and hitters like he does. I just try to pick his brain as much as I can, and it's worked out for everybody in here."
On Thursday, Mike Minor gave up two runs on five hits in a career-high eight innings for the win in the series opener against the D-backs, and Brandon Beachy followed the effort on Friday with 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a 9-1 victory. On Saturday, Hanson was charged with two runs on five hits in seven strong innings for the win, marking the third consecutive quality start. "I've seen them progress 100 percent. They have really stepped up and have been what we needed," McCann said. "Starting pitching wins a bunch of games and we feel comfortable with the five guys running out there. We'll get [Tim Hudson] back soon, and he can climb up there and be the ace of the staff and everyone will fall into place and keep it rolling." Overall, Braves starters are 8-5 and rank sixth in the National League with 3.50 ERA this season. Beachy leads the Major Leagues with a 0.47 ERA. "Pitchers are understanding what we are trying to do," McCann said. "They are calling more of their games sometimes and not leaving it up to us to call the pitches. They are trying to set up hitters and learning how to pitch."