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Braves rookie Hanson suffers first loss
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson throws during the first inning Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee. The teams are wearing Negro National League uniforms as part of a tribute. - photo by The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Yovani Gallardo scattered four hits in 7À scoreless innings and drove in the only run Milwaukee needed off previously unbeaten Tommy Hanson to lead the Brewers to a 4-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.

The RBI single by Gallardo (9-7) broke open a scoreless game in the fifth and gave the struggling Brewers a boost of confidence after a miserable start to July. Milwaukee had lost 13 of 19 to fall from first to fourth in the NL Central.

Gallardo’s recent performances matched the Brewers’ slide. He started July 0-3 with a 5.09 ERA, while Hanson (5-1) came in looking for the best start by a Braves rookie since Larry McWilliams won his first seven decisions in 1978.

The duel between two of the NL’s promising young pitchers didn’t disappoint.

Gallardo worked around runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth innings by inducing grounders to get out of each jam. The 23-year-old right-hander walked four and struck out six, leaving to a standing ovation in favor of Todd Coffey, who got the final two outs in the eighth.

Rookie Casey McGehee then drove in two insurance runs with a two-out single in the bottom of the inning off Manny Acosta to make it 4-0 after Eric O’Flaherty was pulled when he walked the bases loaded with one out.

The 22-year-old Hanson lasted seven solid innings despite flulike symptoms.

Hanson, who gave up seven runs in his June 7 debut against the Brewers in a no-decision, said he’d lost 12 pounds this week because a severely sore throat limited him from eating. Tests were negative for strep throat and mononucleosis and the right-hander said he felt well enough to start Saturday night.

While he gave up nine hits and walked two, he held Milwaukee scoreless until Gallardo’s timely hit.

In the fifth, Frank Catalanotto led off with a single, J.J. Hardy walked on four pitches and Jason Kendall’s deep fly to center advanced Catalanotto to third.

Gallardo squared to bunt on the first pitch that drew in third baseman Chipper Jones, then chopped Hanson’s next pitch over Jones’ head to score Catalanotto. Felipe Lopez singled to load the bases and Hanson’s only play on Craig Counsell’s dribbler was to first, which scored Hardy to make it 2-0.

That was all Gallardo and the bullpen would need to hand Hanson his first loss in the majors.

NOTES: Plate umpire C.B. Bucknor received medical attention after taking a liner off his face mask on Gallardo’s foul tip in the seventh, but stayed in the game. Gallardo followed with a single. ... Brewers RHP Seth McClung (elbow) was placed on the 15-day DL just before the game. RHP Tim Dillard was called up from Triple-A Nashville. ... The teams wore uniforms honoring Negro League teams from their respective cities — the Atlanta Black Crackers (1919-52) and the Milwaukee Bears (1923).

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