ATLANTA (AP) - Mike Matheny saw a different edge in Lance Lynn as he approached his second start this year against the Atlanta Braves, the only team to beat him this season.
``He had fire in his eyes today,' Matheny said.
Lynn joined Philadelphia's Cole Hamels as the major leagues' first eight-game winners, and the St. Louis Cardinals' extended the Braves' longest losing streak in two years to eight games with an 8-2 victory Monday.
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. ``For him to go out on this start and make it his best one says a lot about him, to get a chance against the team that got him before.'
Lynn (8-1) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, striking out eight. While Lynn was dominating the Braves, Hamels pitched the Phillies to an 8-4 win at the Mets.
Lynn 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.
Atlanta is on its worst skid since the Braves lost 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,' Braves catcher Brian McCann said. ``We've just got to stay afloat. We hit a bump in the road. We have to bear down.'
Atlanta has given up seven runs or more in four straight games for the first time since five in a row from July 26-30, 2008, according to STATS LLC.
``We've always been known for our pitching, and we will,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``We're just going through a stretch right now.'
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.
Atlanta's Tommy Hanson (5-4) gave up a season-high six runs on eight hits in 3 1-3 innings.
``I don't think anybody's panicking right now. We're still above .500 right now,' said Hanson, who had given up no more than two runs in his previous four starts.
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 Tuesday.
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 on Tuesday night.
The Associated Press News Service
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