Philadelphia at Atlanta

W: M. Gonzalez (1-0) L: A. Alfonseca (1-1)
HR: PHI - None   ATL - C. Jones (8), A. Jones (5)

A. Jones hits walk-off home run to break tie with Phillies

CBS wire reports

ATLANTA -- Tim Hudson took the mound with the initials "JH" on the front of his jersey. Before every inning, he scribbled the letters "VM" in the dirt with his cleats.

The Braves pitcher sure had a lot on his mind.

Hudson managed to put his emotions aside for a few hours Monday night, working eight strong innings for Atlanta after getting word the previous day that both his grandmother and college teammate Josh Hancock had died.

Andruw Jones won it with a three-run homer in the ninth, leading the Braves past the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2. Hudson didn't factor in the decision, though that did little to diminish how well he pitched with such a heavy heart.

"It's kind of tough," Hudson said. "But I know my grandmother and Josh would have wanted me out there. They were some of the biggest baseball fans ever. It wasn't only me out there pitching tonight. I felt like I had a little help."

Vera Mickle's death wasn't a surprise; she had been ailing for some time. But Hancock, a reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals, was killed early Sunday in a car crash at age 29 -- an especially tough blow for Hudson to take.

The two played together at Auburn in 1997, leading the Tigers to the College World Series, and had remained close ever since.

"It's definitely the most mentally draining game I've ever pitched," Hudson said. "But I know Josh and my grandmother would not have wanted me to be anywhere else but out there on the mound."

In the bottom of the ninth, Kelly Johnson led off with a single, Chipper Jones walked and Andruw Jones hit a towering drive into the left-field seats off Antonio Alfonseca (1-1).

Coming into the game, the Braves center fielder was 1-for-11 with six strikeouts against Alfonseca.

"He's got my number," Jones said. "I just went up there looking for a breaking pitch. He did throw it, and I didn't miss it."

Chipper Jones also homered for the Braves, then marveled at how well Hudson pitched under the circumstances.

"The game itself allows us to forget our problems off the field," Jones said. "We can go out there and have fun for a couple of hours. Life is very fragile, as we all just found out."

While Hudson failed to improve to 4-0 for the first time in his career, he has clearly regained the form that made him one of baseball's top starters in Oakland. He struggled last season for the Braves, going 13-12 with a career-worst 4.86 ERA.

"Hudson was tough. He threw up a lot of ground balls," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's got better command than any time I've seen him in the last year."

Hudson has lasted at least seven innings in each of his first six starts, not allowing more than three runs in any of them. His ERA is 1.40.

"It's nice to go out there and give us a good chance to win," said Hudson, who even chipped in with a run-scoring groundout that broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. "It's still early in the year. We've got five months to go. I've got to keep doing what I'm doing."

But first, real life is calling.

Hudson left right after the game to be his family, who were preparing for Mickle's funeral in Columbus, Ga., on Tuesday. Then it's on to Mississippi, where Hancock will be buried on Thursday.

"We really wanted Huddy to win the game," Andruw Jones said.

Instead, Mike Gonzalez (1-0) picked up his first win for the Braves with a scoreless ninth. The former Pirates closer moved back into his familiar last-inning role after Bob Wickman went on the DL before the game.

Jon Lieber matched Hudson, allowing two runs (one earned) in seven innings. The Phillies starter surrendered seven hits and six walks but escaped a major jam with his final pitch, getting Andruw Jones to hit into an inning-ending double play with two runners on.

Then it was Brett Myers' turn to work out of trouble. With runners at second and third with one out in the eighth, newcomer Willie Harris took a called third strike and pinch-hitter Brayan Pena grounded out weakly in front of home plate.

The Braves called up Harris from Triple-A Richmond and started him right away in left field after dealing Ryan Langerhans to Oakland.

Hudson didn't allow a hit for 4 1/3 innings, getting all but one of his outs on grounders -- a sure sign the sinker ball pitcher was on his game. But Aaron Rowand finally broke through with a single in the fifth, and the Phillies strung together three hits in the sixth.

Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino both singled with one out, Chase Utley tied it up with sacrifice fly to deep center and Ryan Howard followed with a two-out, run-scoring single to left that put the Phillies ahead 2-1.

But Chipper Jones quickly erased the deficit, leading off the bottom half with his eighth homer.


  • Rowand left the game in the seventh with a stiff lower back. Michael Bourne came on as a pinch hitter and finished out the game in center.
  • Before this season, Hudson's only other 3-0 start came with the A's in 2004.
  • Johnson is playing the leadoff role to perfection for the Braves. He also walked three times and raised his on-base percentage to .473.
Copyright 2017 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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Andruw Jones leans back to watch his game-winning, three-run blast sail into the Atlanta sky.  (AP)
Andruw Jones leans back to watch his game-winning, three-run blast sail into the Atlanta sky. (AP)

Players of the Game

A. Jones
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

T. Hudson
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 2
BB 1
K 1

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Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4110000 .297
Shane Victorino, RF4110000 .260
Chase Utley, 2B3001000 .296
Ryan Howard, 1B4011010 .221
Pat Burrell, LF3000111 .292
Aaron Rowand, CF1010000 .378
   a- Michael Bourn, PH-CF1000000 .200
Abraham Nunez, 3B3000002 .182
Carlos Ruiz, C3000001 .288
Jon Lieber, P2000000 .143
   b- Greg Dobbs, PH1000000 .185
    Brett Myers, P0000000 .000
    Antonio Alfonseca, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Rowand in the 7th
b-grounded out for Lieber in the 8th
SF - Chase Utley (3)
RBI - Chase Utley (21), Ryan Howard (13)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Howard (8)
SB - Shane Victorino (7, 2nd base off Hudson/McCann)
Team LOB - 3
DP - Nunez-Utley-Howard, Rollins-Howard, Nunez-Utley-Howard
E - Pat Burrell (2, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
Jon Lieber 7721621 2.57
Brett Myers 1200020 6.65
Antonio Alfonseca (L,1-1) 0.1233101 3.38
IBB - Jones by Jon Lieber
WP - Brett Myers (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lieber 109-64, Brett Myers 11-5, Antonio Alfonseca 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lieber 9-7, Brett Myers 1-0, Antonio Alfonseca 1-0
Batters Faced - Jon Lieber 31, Brett Myers 5, Antonio Alfonseca 4
Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B2010301 .326
Edgar Renteria, SS5110005 .333
Chipper Jones, 3B3211201 .310
Andruw Jones, CF4123102 .261
Brian McCann, C4010012 .289
Jeff Francoeur, RF4120022 .306
Scott Thorman, 1B4010003 .288
Willie Harris, LF3010112 .333
Tim Hudson, P3011003 .188
   a- Brayan Pena, PH1000002 .250
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Hudson in the 8th
HR - Chipper Jones (8, Lieber), Andruw Jones (5, Alfonseca)
RBI - Chipper Jones (17), Andruw Jones 3 (19), Tim Hudson (1)
SB - Kelly Johnson (3, 2nd base off Lieber/Ruiz)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Johnson-Renteria-Thorman
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson 8422110 1.40
Mike Gonzalez (W,1-0) 1000010 1.74
HBP - Rowand (by Tim Hudson)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 94-64, Mike Gonzalez 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 18-4, Mike Gonzalez 1-1
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 29, Mike Gonzalez 3
Game Information
Attendance - 20354
Game Time - 2:24
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - Joe West, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Ed Rapuano