ATLANTA -- Derek Lowe was up for the challenge of helping the Los Angeles Dodgers get their first win over Tim Hudson.
Lowe outpitched Hudson, giving up three hits and an unearned run in seven innings, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Saturday night in a matchup of first-place teams.
It was the Dodgers' first win in eight tries against Hudson.
Lowe retired the final nine batters he faced.
"That's the nastiest stuff I've seen since I've been up," said Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur, who was 0-for-4.
Hudson, off to perhaps the best start of his career, began the night second in the NL with a 1.40 ERA and fourth in opponents batting average (.186). Those numbers only fired up Lowe.
"I've always loved facing teams when the other guy is on a roll," Lowe said. "I think it makes you elevate your game."
Lowe (3-3) had eight strikeouts and walked two batters. After giving up the unearned run in the third inning, the only other threat he faced came in the fifth, when he allowed a leadoff double to Willie Harris. Lowe retired the next three batters to leave Harris stranded on second.
Lowe, who left the game with a 2-1 lead, said he was conscious of trying to stay ahead of Hudson.
"Sometimes as a team, facing a guy like Hudson, I think it brings maybe a different intensity to the game," Lowe said. "You know you have to bring your A game that day."
Hudson (3-1) also pitched well. The veteran, who had been 5-0 against Los Angeles, gave up three runs and seven hits in eight innings.
"Derek Lowe, man, I'll tell you what, he was really good tonight," Hudson said.
Wilson Betemit, normally the Dodgers' starting third baseman, hit a pinch-hit homer off Hudson in the eighth. Betemit, the former Brave, was hitting only .125 with no homers when he was benched by manager Grady Little.
Betemit batted for Lowe in the eighth inning and hit a fastball from Hudson into the right-field seats for a 3-1 lead.
"I know I can play here," Betemit said. "I don't have to put my head down, just come here and work hard. ... Today I'm not in the lineup, but I know I have to keep working."
Little wouldn't say if the homer earned Betemit a start in the final game of the three-game series Sunday.
"We know what the guy is capable of doing," Little said. "We're proud to see it. ... It came at a good time for us, and that's what counts."
Ramon Martinez, who started at third base, was 1-for-4.
Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton gave up an eighth-inning walk to Kelly Johnson and a single to Edgar Renteria to put runners on first and third with one out. Broxton struck out Chipper Jones and got Andruw Jones to ground out to end the threat.
The Dodgers added three runs off Tyler Yates in the ninth.
Yates walked Jeff Kent and gave up a single to Luis Gonzalez. Kent scored on Russell Martin's single to left. Andre Ethier and Martinez added run-scoring singles off Steve Colyer.
The Braves loaded the bases against Joe Beimel in the ninth. Scott Thorman doubled with two outs, pinch-hitter Matt Diaz had an infield single and pinch-hitter Craig Wilson walked.
Takashi Saito gave up a two-run single to Johnson and then got Renteria to ground out for his ninth save.
Harris, called up from Triple-A Richmond last Sunday, had two hits, including a third-inning single. Harris stole second and third and scored to give the Braves a 1-0 lead when second baseman Jeff Kent bobbled Chipper Jones' grounder for an error.
The Dodgers opened the fourth inning with three straight hits. After singles by Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre, Furcal scored on Nomar Garciaparra's single to left. Pierre later scored from third on a grounder by Luis Gonzalez for a 2-1 lead.
Hudson has lasted at least seven innings in each of his first six starts and hasn't allowed more than three runs in any start. His ERA rose to 1.70.
The Dodgers moved to 15-0 when leading after six innings. ... Renteria's eighth-inning single off Broxton extended his hitting streak to 14 games. ... The homer by Betemit was the first allowed by Hudson in 47 innings. He gave up a homer to Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz in his first start of the season on April 4. ... The two steals by Harris were his first two of the season. He led the Braves with seven stolen bases in spring training.