ST. LOUIS -- Tim Hudson got a pleasant surprise warming up in the bullpen for his fourth attempt at his 100th career victory. After a three-year absence, his split-finger fastball was back.
"I've been afraid to use it, but all of a sudden, there it was," Hudson said Saturday after holding the St. Louis Cardinals to one run in seven innings in the Atlanta Braves' 8-1 win. "I haven't had a good one in three years, but it was there today."
Braves manager Bobby Cox was as surprised as Hudson (8-6).
"We haven't seen it in a game, and there it was today," Cox said of the right-hander the Braves acquired in an offseason trade with Oakland.
Hudson didn't want to get carried away about the sudden reappearance of the splitter.
"I only threw it about 10 times, but it was great to have it back," he said.
And it arrived in time for the win that made him 100-45 in his career.
"I'm happy about it. It's a milestone, and I hope there are more to come," he said of win No. 100. "It's one of the first milestones a starting pitcher can come across. It's nice to get it and get it out of the way. It took me a while to finally get it, and now it's out of the way."
Hudson struck out four, walked one and allowed six hits to earn his first victory since July 16. He was 0-1 in three starts in that span.
He got all the support he needed from Andruw Jones, who homered twice, including a grand slam, to increase his major league leading total to 35.
Jones said he was looking for mistake pitches from Cardinals starter Jason Marquis (9-10).
"When a pitcher like Jason makes a mistake, you have to take advantage of it. If you don't, he can be really tough," Jones said. "He struck me out on the first at-bat with a slider. And I went up there looking for it the next time when I hit the first home run.
"I was looking for a slider with the bases loaded and he threw me a fastball."
Jones' grand slam in the sixth inning was the fourth of his career and came in his fourth multihomer game of the season and 26th of his career.
Marquis agreed the home runs came on mistakes.
"The second one, I didn't execute. I was in a position where there was no room to put him," he said. "I wanted to throw him good, quality pitches down in the zone. The first one was a cutter out over the plate. It wasn't that bad of a pitch but he hit the ball hard."
Marquis, who has lost four straight and has seven losses in his last 10 starts, said he was trying to keep the game close.
"I put myself in a situation with a bad count and runners on where there was nothing else but to fail," he said.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was critical of Marquis' performance.
`'He made mistakes you can't make when the other guy is pitching as well as he did," he said.
Marquis retired the first 12 batters before Jones led off the fifth with a homer to tie it 1-1. Wilson Betemit made it 2-1 later in the inning with a double that drove in Jeff Francoeur who had singled.
Marquis, the only Cardinals' starter with less than 10 wins, allowed six runs and five hits in five innings.
The Braves scored four in the sixth when Jones homered after two walks and a single loaded the bases.
Rodriguez and Pujols both reached base to lead off the eighth but Pujols was doubled up on a fly ball to short right field when he rounded the base and couldn't beat the throw back to first. It was the first double play Jim Edmonds hit into this season.
The Braves have won 10 of their last 14 and the Cardinals are 3-3 for the homestand which ends Sunday. The Cardinals were attempting to reach 30 games over .500 for the first time this season.
- Giles' ninth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 11 games (22-for-47).
- Chris Reitsma of the Braves is 9-for-9 in save opportunities since blowing one on June 29.
- Atlanta's Chipper Jones missed his fourth straight game with a strained rotator cuff.
- Grudzielanek had three hits to extend his season-high hitting streak to nine games (17-for-37).
- Francoeur extended his hitting streak to eight games (14-for-35) with a single in four at-bats.
- The crowd of 48,565 pushed the Cardinals past the 2.5 million mark and was the 27th sellout of the season.