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Braves earn split of two-game series with Marlins

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- When Tim Hudson took the mound in the top of the first inning, he didn't even realize Chipper Jones was back at third base.

"I don't know how smart that was," Hudson said, laughing.

He sure noticed when Jones homered on the first pitch he saw in his return to the lineup. Given an early lead, Hudson took a shutout into the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the Florida Marlins 5-2 on Wednesday.

"All of a sudden he gets in there and whacks a homer," Hudson said. "Hopefully, he's in there to stay."

Adam LaRoche hit three doubles and drove in three runs for the Braves, and Andruw Jones also homered. But everyone pointed to how important it was to have Chipper Jones in the lineup for the first time in more than a week.

"You know he can do damage," LaRoche said. "It took a lot of the weight off a lot of guys' shoulders, not feeling like we had to do it all. We've been pressing a little bit."

The teams split a two-game series at Turner Field, leaving the Marlins (15-10) with a percentage-point lead over Atlanta (16-11) in the NL East.

"It's going to be a battle until the end of the season," said Hudson, who gave up five hits and one earned run in 7 1/3 innings. "They're not going to go away, and neither are we."

Jones hurt his left foot while running the bases on April 24. He didn't start the next seven games and was still in pain Wednesday, but decided it was time to play.

"The first instant that I thought I could play, I was going to get out there," he said.

He didn't take long to make an impact.

In the bottom of the first, Jones connected on a first-pitch fastball from A.J. Burnett. The drive struck the top of the right-field wall and skipped into the seats for Jones' fifth homer of the season.

He was looking for the fastball after Burnett retired the first two hitters on two pitches.

"There was a little strategy involved," Jones said. "A lot of times the pitcher will lay it in there because they know we're taught not to make three outs on three pitches. I thought it might be the only fastball I would see all day. Sure enough, I ran into it."

Hudson (3-1) bounced back from his worst start of the season, having surrendered nine hits and six runs in a loss to St. Louis. He was dominant against the same Marlins lineup that put up 13 hits on the Braves the night before.

"It's just location and getting ahead in the count," Hudson said. "The key pitch is strike one, especially when you realize that they're going to be patient."

Hudson escaped a big jam in the fourth but finally tired in the eighth. Carlos Delgado's run-scoring double knocked out the Atlanta starter, who threw 119 pitches.

Miguel Cabrera followed with an RBI single off Chris Reitsma, but that was it for the Marlins. Reitsma got the last two outs in the eighth, and Dan Kolb bounced back from a leadoff walk in the ninth to record his eighth save in nine chances.

Burnett (3-2) had won three straight decisions, but he's now 0-2 against the Braves this season. He also lost to Atlanta in his first start, though he surrendered only two earned runs in six innings.

That established a trend for Burnett, who had given up two earned runs in every start before Wednesday. This time against the Braves, he was reached for nine hits and three runs - both season highs.

"Overall, he didn't do a bad job," manager Jack McKeon said. "He kept us in the game."

The Braves scored four of their runs with two outs, getting back at the Marlins for the previous night. Florida scored eight runs that way in an 11-6 victory.

After Chipper Jones homered in the first, Johnny Estrada walked and came all the way around to score on LaRoche's first double of the day. The slow-running catcher barely beat the throw to the plate to make it 2-0.

Andruw Jones hit his fourth homer leading off the fourth, and LaRoche gave the Braves some insurance in the seventh after Travis Smith took over for Burnett.

Again, the damage was done with two outs. Chipper Jones walked, Estrada doubled and LaRoche brought them both home with a double that nearly cleared the wall in right.

Hudson escaped one-out trouble in the fourth. Delgado walked and Cabrera doubled down the left-field line to put runners at second and third.

But Juan Encarnacion took a called third strike and Estrada made a nice defensive play to end the inning, pouncing on Paul Lo Duca's slow roller in front of the plate. Estrada made a whirling throw to get the runner by a step, earning a pat on the back from Hudson.

"He had good stuff today," Encarnacion said of Hudson. "When we see him the next time, I think we'll have a better feeling about how he pitches."

Notes

  • Smith pitched with the Braves last season.
  • Florida hasn't swept the Braves since May 13-14, 1997.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Johnny Estrada congratulates Chipper Jones after his first-inning home run. (AP)
Johnny Estrada congratulates Chipper Jones after his first-inning home run. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

T. Hudson
IP 7.1
H 5
ER 1
BB 1
K 5
Atlanta

A. LaRoche
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
 

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Juan Pierre, CF5000012 .274
Luis Castillo, 2B4100000 .282
Carlos Delgado, 1B3111100 .322
Miguel Cabrera, LF4031010 .371
Juan Encarnacion, RF4000024 .270
Paul Lo Duca, C4010003 .342
Mike Lowell, 3B3010101 .196
Alex Gonzalez, SS4000012 .244
A.J. Burnett, P2000010 .133
   a- Jeff Conine, PH1000011 .238
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   b- Lenny Harris, PH1000001 .273
Totals352622714 
a-struck out for Burnett in the 7th
b-lined out for Perisho in the 9th
Batting
2B - Carlos Delgado (10, Hudson), Miguel Cabrera (9, Hudson)
RBI - Carlos Delgado (16), Miguel Cabrera (23)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - A. Gonzalez-Castillo-Delgado, A. Gonzalez-Castillo-Delgado, A. Gonzalez-Delgado
E - Alex Gonzalez (5, Misplayed grounder)
Florida Marlins
A.J. Burnett (L,3-2) 6933282 2.72
Travis Smith 1322100 9.00
Matt Perisho 1100120 1.42
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 96-61, Travis Smith 19-11, Matt Perisho 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 5-3, Travis Smith 3-0, Matt Perisho 1-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 27, Travis Smith 7, Matt Perisho 5
Atlanta Braves
Rafael Furcal, SS4020101 .239
Marcus Giles, 2B5000024 .273
Chipper Jones, 3B4211132 .357
Johnny Estrada, C3220100 .250
Adam LaRoche, 1B4033000 .239
Brian Jordan, LF4010023 .228
Andruw Jones, CF3121102 .247
Ryan Langerhans, RF4010022 .179
Tim Hudson, P3010012 .143
    Chris Reitsma, P0000000 .000
   a- Pete Orr, PH0000000 .304
    Danny Kolb, P0000000 .000
Totals34513541016 
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Reitsma in the 8th
Batting
2B - Johnny Estrada (7, Smith), Adam LaRoche 3 (7, Burnett, Burnett, Smith)
HR - Chipper Jones (5, Burnett), Andruw Jones (4, Burnett)
SH - Pete Orr (2)
RBI - Chipper Jones (15), Adam LaRoche 3 (13), Andruw Jones (13)
2-OUT RBI - Chipper Jones (6), Adam LaRoche 3 (12)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Tim Hudson (1, Misplayed grounder), Adam LaRoche (1, Wild throw)
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson (W,3-1) 7.1521150 2.18
Chris Reitsma 0.2100010 0.63
Danny Kolb (S,8) 1000110 6.00
WP - Danny Kolb (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 119-75, Chris Reitsma 14-9, Danny Kolb 17-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 9-10, Chris Reitsma 1-0, Danny Kolb 1-1
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 30, Chris Reitsma 3, Danny Kolb 4
Game Information
Attendance - 25082
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Jerry Crawford, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor