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Washington at Atlanta

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Washington (5-15)0000002103130
Atlanta (10-9) «13200100x7132

Hudson, Braves beat Nats for fifth straight win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Tim Hudson threw a fastball and sneaked a glance at the scoreboard.

When he saw a number in the 90s, he knew everything would be OK.

Bouncing back from a baffling performance, Hudson pitched six scoreless innings before tiring and also drove in two runs, leading the Braves past the woeful Washington Nationals 7-3 Monday night for Atlanta's fifth straight win.

Hudson (3-1) lasted only three innings in his previous start at Florida and couldn't get much higher that the mid-80s on the radar gun, prompting manager Bobby Cox to comment that "his arm was kind of dead." It came back to life against Washington.

The right-hander returned to the low 90s with his fastball and, thanks in part to his defense, managed to avoid any major trouble despite giving up 10 hits and walking two in 6 2/3 innings.

"It was nice to look up at the board and see something with a '9' in front of it instead of '8,"' said Hudson, who theorized he was still weak last week after getting over the flu. "Yeah, I was checking it out. I'm sure everybody on our club was checking it after my last outing."

The Braves have allowed only six runs during their winning streak, which pushed them above .500 for the first time this season at 10-9.

Washington keeps falling farther and farther back in the NL East. The Nationals lost their third in a row and have dropped 15 of 17 since starting the season with three straight wins.

Matt Chico (0-4) lasted just four innings, giving up six runs and eight hits. He walked Hudson in the third with the bases loaded, one of several miscues that showed the Nationals need a refresher in baseball fundamentals.

Washington had two runners thrown out at the plate, the second with Atlanta ahead 6-0, and another thrown out at second to thwart a potential rally in the eighth. The Nationals also allowed a Braves runner to sneak home on Hudson's sacrifice bunt in the second, giving the pitcher his first RBI of the night.

"Every play is important," manager Manny Acta said. "When you're struggling to score runs, you tend to push the action."

Hudson (3-1) went to the seventh with 7-0 lead, but the Nationals touched him for a couple of runs. He might have gotten though it if not for an error by first baseman Mark Teixeira, who dropped a routine throw and gave Washington an unearned run. Royce Ring got the final out with two on to preserve Atlanta's 7-2 lead.

Washington had a shot at going ahead in the first when Austin Kearns singled to right with two on. But Jeff Francoeur showed off one of the majors' best arms, easily throwing out Cristian Guzman with a one-hop strike to the plate.

Washington's most glaring blunder came in the fifth. Felipe Lopez doubled with one out, and pinch-hitter Rob Mackowiak followed with a hard grounder up the middle that deflected off second baseman Martin Prado for a hit.

Shortstop Yunel Escobar chased down the ball in the short center, wheeled around and threw toward home. Lopez, who never stopped running, was tagged out by catcher Brian McCann. Guzman followed with another hit that would have driven in Lopez -- if only he'd held at third.

The Braves jumped ahead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Chipper Jones, who was back in the lineup one day after leaving a game because of an ailing right quadriceps. Jones also extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Atlanta scored three more in the second. McCann led off with his fifth homer, and runners were at first and third after two more hits. Hudson dropped a bunt toward third, looking mainly to move Gregor Blanco to second, but Matt Diaz was able to stray down the line when Washington had no one covering third.

As soon as Ryan Zimmerman threw to first, Diaz raced home to make it 2-0. Prado followed with a run-scoring double.

"I realized the shortstop was covering second," Diaz said. "When Zimmerman looked me, he just kind of shook his head, because he had to throw to first. I just kind of walked with him all the way down the line."

In the third, Chico walked Blanco intentionally to load the bases for Hudson, then walked him, too, to bring home another run. Prado picked up his second RBI of the night on a forceout, making it 6-0.

"He didn't have it," Nationals catcher Johnny Estrada said of Chico. "He was erratic from the start. He finally began to get his pitches down, but the damage had been done."

Former Brave Willie Harris broke up the shutout with a pinch-hit double in the seventh.

Notes

  • Hudson improved to 7-1 with a 1.13 ERA in 11 career starts against the Nationals.
  • Washington closer Chad Cordero pitched the eighth to get in some work. It was just his fourth appearance of the season.
  • The teams have played five times, with Atlanta holding a 3-2 lead. They'll play eight times before the opening month is done. "We know Washington better than the president," Cox quipped.
 
Copyright 2014 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
Atlanta

T. Hudson
IP 6.2
H 10
ER 1
BB 2
K 3
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Washington Nationals
Cristian Guzman, SS5030000 .321
Lastings Milledge, CF2001013 .273
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B5020002 .226
Nick Johnson, 1B4000102 .237
Austin Kearns, RF4120114 .229
Johnny Estrada, C4020001 .208
Wily Mo Pena, LF4000023 .100
Felipe Lopez, 2B3110113 .261
Matt Chico, P1000000 .100
   a- Rob Mackowiak, PH1010000 .077
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
   b- Willie Harris, PH1111000 .120
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
   c- Aaron Boone, PH1011000 .263
    Chad Cordero, P0000000 .000
Totals35313335  
a-singled for Chico in the 5th
b-doubled for Hanrahan in the 7th
c-singled for Colome in the 8th
Batting
2B - Cristian Guzman (6, Hudson), Felipe Lopez (2, Hudson), Willie Harris (1, Hudson)
SF - Lastings Milledge (2)
SH - Lastings Milledge (2)
RBI - Lastings Milledge (7), Willie Harris (2), Aaron Boone (3)
2-OUT RBI - Aaron Boone (1)
Team LOB - 11
Washington Nationals
Matt Chico (L,0-4) 4866301 6.04
Joel Hanrahan 2411030 6.57
Jesus Colome 1100030 1.42
Chad Cordero 1000110 0.00
IBB - Blanco by Matt Chico
WP - Chad Cordero (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Chico 79-41, Joel Hanrahan 40-28, Jesus Colome 20-14, Chad Cordero 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Chico 6-6, Joel Hanrahan 1-2, Chad Cordero 1-1
Batters Faced - Matt Chico 23, Joel Hanrahan 10, Jesus Colome 4, Chad Cordero 4
Atlanta Braves
Martin Prado, 2B5122021 .280
Yunel Escobar, SS3110103 .307
Chipper Jones, 3B3011101 .453
Mark Teixeira, 1B5010025 .247
Jeff Francoeur, RF5011002 .291
Brian McCann, C4221002 .292
Matt Diaz, LF4230010 .288
Gregor Blanco, CF3120111 .444
Tim Hudson, P1002101 .000
    Royce Ring, P0000000 .000
   a- Ruben Gotay, PH1000011 .250
    Buddy Carlyle, P0000000 .000
    Manny Acosta, P0000000 .000
Totals34713747  
a-struck out for Ring in the 7th
Batting
2B - Martin Prado 2 (3, Chico, Chico), Matt Diaz (2, Chico)
HR - Brian McCann (5, Chico)
SF - Chipper Jones (2)
SH - Yunel Escobar (2), Tim Hudson (3)
RBI - Martin Prado 2 (4), Chipper Jones (19), Jeff Francoeur (15), Brian McCann (12), Tim Hudson 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur (9)
SB - Matt Diaz (2, 2nd base off Chico/Estrada)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1
DP - Prado-Escobar-Teixeira
E - Chipper Jones (2, Throwing), Mark Teixeira (1, Missed catch of throw)
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson (W,3-1) 6.21021230 2.93
Royce Ring 0.1000000 12.00
Buddy Carlyle 1211110 6.00
Manny Acosta 1100010 4.00
HBP - Milledge (by Manny Acosta)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 95-61, Buddy Carlyle 20-10, Manny Acosta 22-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 10-5, Royce Ring 1-0, Manny Acosta 2-0
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 30, Royce Ring 1, Buddy Carlyle 5, Manny Acosta 5
Game Information
Attendance - 16706
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Rob Drake