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Washington at Atlanta

Atlanta «00013004x890

Hudson dominates, Francouer explodes as Braves blank Nats

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

ATLANTA -- Less than two weeks into the season, the gap between the top and bottom of the NL East already looks imposing.

Tim Hudson pitched three-hit ball over seven innings and Jeff Francouer drove in five runs, sending the Atlanta Braves to an 8-0 victory Tuesday night that extended the hapless Nationals' losing streak to five.

Washington (1-7) has been outscored 53-18, falling behind by at least 3-0 in every game. The Nationals haven't scored in the first three innings of any game and never led at the time of any pitch -- their only win came on a ninth-inning single by Dmitri Young against Florida on April 4.

"We're still waiting for that lead," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "We haven't gotten a lead yet."

Matt Chico (0-1), slowed by flu, allowed four runs -- one earned -- and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He was hurt by errors by Young at first and Belliard at shortstop, the latter a dropped popup that led to three unearned runs.

"There's only so much you can do about working on catching a throw, catching a popup," Acta said. "We have to do those types of things. We're going to have to start catching the ball."

Arizona's Livan Hernandez took a no-hitter into the sixth against Washington on Sunday, and Hudson (1-0) held the Nationals without a hit for 4 2/3 innings before Belliard blooped a single. Hudson struck out seven and walked one, lowering his ERA to 0.64.

Washington never had a runner reach third base.

"I hear the guys pulling for each other but things are not happening," Acta said. "And also, it was no easy cookie for us out there. It was Tim Hudson at his best. Too much Hudson for us, basically, tonight."

Mike Gonzalez and Chad Paronto combined to finish the four-hitter.

"I couldn't ask for a better start to my season," Hudson said. "As a team we couldn't ask for a better start, either."

Andruw Jones hit his first homer of the season for the Braves, who are 6-1 for the first time since winning seven of their first eight en route to the 1995 World Series title.

Jones, hitting only .130 through six games, had a fourth-inning homer that landed about seven rows deep in the left-field seats.

After Belliard dropped Edgar Renteria's popup in the fifth, Francouer hit a two-run double over Ryan Church in center, then scored on Brian McCann's double, which chased Chico.

Renteria added an RBI double in the eighth, and Francouer hit a three-run homer Ray King.

The Braves, trying to rebound from last year's third-place finish, have had enough to worry about -- especially with the loss of pitcher Mike Hampton to season-ending elbow surgery on Tuesday.

Even so, some Atlanta players couldn't help but case an empathetic eye toward the struggling Nationals.

"Obviously it hurts them having Nick Johnson out of the lineup," Francouer said, referring to the Nationals' first baseman who is recovering from a broken right leg. "They're young. They're building. They'll have a new stadium next year and will get going. They remind me a lot of the Marlins last year; once they get going they'll be tough."


Acta said King has inflammation in his left shoulder and won't throw. King, who gave up four runs, two hits and three walks, will be given medication and won't placed on the DL. ... Hudson struck out the side in the second after Young's leadoff walk. Jones, who turns 30 on April 23, has 343 homers and broke a three-way tie for sixth place for most before the age of 30. Hank Aaron and Mel Ott hit 342.

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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Players of the Game

J. Francoeur
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1

T. Hudson
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 7

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Washington Nationals
Felipe Lopez, SS4000010 .265
Chris Snelling, LF4010000 .167
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000021 .250
Dmitri Young, 1B3010100 .296
Austin Kearns, RF4000022 .267
Ryan Church, CF3010011 .296
Ronnie Belliard, 2B3010012 .391
Brian Schneider, C3000001 .120
Matt Chico, P1000010 .000
    Micah Bowie, P0000000 .000
   a- D'Angelo Jimenez, PH1000000 .200
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Wagner, P0000000 .000
   b- Josh Wilson, PH1000010 .000
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    Levale Speigner, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Bowie in the 6th
b-struck out for Wagner in the 8th
2B - Chris Snelling (1, Hudson)
Team LOB - 5
DP - F. Lopez-Belliard-Young
E - Ronnie Belliard (1, Misplayed grounder), Dmitri Young (2, Missed catch of throw)
Washington Nationals
Matt Chico (L,0-1) 4.2641331 7.27
Micah Bowie 0.1000000 3.86
Jesus Colome 1100210 3.86
Ryan Wagner 1000110 1.69
Ray King 0.2244301 12.27
Levale Speigner 0.1000010 5.40
IBB - Diaz by Matt Chico
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Chico 98-53, Micah Bowie 1-1, Jesus Colome 28-15, Ryan Wagner 16-8, Ray King 22-12, Levale Speigner 6-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Chico 7-5, Micah Bowie 1-0, Jesus Colome 1-1, Ryan Wagner 2-0, Ray King 2-0
Batters Faced - Matt Chico 24, Micah Bowie 1, Jesus Colome 6, Ryan Wagner 4, Ray King 7, Levale Speigner 1
Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B4110101 .167
Edgar Renteria, SS4211101 .321
    Chad Paronto, P0000000 .000
Chipper Jones, 3B4120112 .269
Andruw Jones, CF3211215 .154
Jeff Francoeur, RF5225021 .310
Brian McCann, C3011200 .360
Craig Wilson, 1B3000101 .071
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
   a- Chris Woodward, PH-SS1000011 .143
Matt Diaz, LF2010100 .357
    Ryan Langerhans, LF1000001 .091
Tim Hudson, P2000012 .000
    Scott Thorman, 1B1000000 .154
a-struck out for Gonzalez in the 8th
2B - Kelly Johnson (1, Chico), Edgar Renteria (1, King), Jeff Francoeur (3, Chico), Brian McCann (3, Chico), Matt Diaz (1, Colome)
HR - Andruw Jones (1, Chico), Jeff Francoeur (2, King)
SH - Tim Hudson (1)
RBI - Edgar Renteria (5), Andruw Jones (2), Jeff Francoeur 5 (9), Brian McCann (8)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur 5 (7), Brian McCann (1)
Team LOB - 11
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson (W,1-0) 7300170 0.64
Mike Gonzalez 1000010 3.86
Chad Paronto 1100010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 96-63, Mike Gonzalez 14-9, Chad Paronto 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 7-7, Mike Gonzalez 2-0
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 25, Mike Gonzalez 3, Chad Paronto 4
Game Information
Attendance - 18396
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Rick Reed, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez