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Atlanta at Pittsburgh

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Atlanta (19-18) «0012401008141
Pittsburgh (18-20)100000000152

Hudson stifles Bucs, earns doubleheader split for Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Tim Hudson showed again that a well-pitched game is the easiest and best way to end an extended streak. Or, on this day, a number of streaks.

Hudson limited Pittsburgh to two hits and an unearned run over seven innings and the Atlanta Braves halted their seven-game road losing slide with an 8-1 victory that concluded Monday's doubleheader.

In the opener, Freddy Sanchez hit a three-run double and Zach Duke pitched six shutout innings as the Pirates won 5-0 for their sixth consecutive win.

With Mark Kotsay and Brian McCann driving in three runs each, Atlanta avoided its first four-game sweep by Pittsburgh since Sept. 1-3, 1978. The Pirates' winning streak was their longest since they won 10 in a row from June 25-July 5, 2004.

"We were able to get a nice lead and I was able to relax," Hudson said after winning his third in a row, all with dominating outings. "I did a pretty good job of changing speeds off my fastball. When you get a lead, you can experiment a little bit."

Hudson (6-2) held the Pirates to a lone single over his final six innings, finishing with five strikeouts and two walks. Pittsburgh's only run came in the first on first baseman Greg Norton's error on Nate McLouth's grounder.

Hudson has permitted only two earned runs and 11 hits over 23 innings in beating the Reds, Padres and Pirates in succession, averaging nearly eight innings per start.

"He's a guy who's been doing it well for a long time. We had a chance to get more runs early and didn't do it," the Pirates' Adam LaRoche said. "But other than this game, it was a great 6-1 homestand for us. We finally put it all together."

So did the Braves in the second game as they took a 3-1 lead on Kotsay's two-run double in the fourth against John Van Benschoten (0-2). McCann's three-run homer in the fifth made it 7-1. Kotsay added an RBI double in the seventh.

The Braves still own the majors' worst road record, 5-14, but finally ended a road losing streak that extended over their last two road trips. They also stopped Pittsburgh's seven-game home winning streak.

Even while splitting, the Braves left 24 on base, 15 in the opener as Duke (2-2) shook off five walks, three errors and five Braves hits to win. Duke, Damaso Marte and Sean Burnett combined to pitch the shutout.

"I think we're playing great," manager Bobby Cox said. "We hit so many balls hard with men on, it's becoming a joke around the clubhouse. Line drives right at them. It's crazy."

Van Benschoten, one of the majors' worst starters last season with an 0-7 record and a 10.15 ERA in nine starts, wasn't much better in his first 2008 start. The 2001 first-round draft pick was roughed up for seven runs, six earned, and nine hits over four-plus innings.

"We were able to time up his fastball and put some good swings on it," Jeff Francoeur said.

The right-handed Van Benschoten has a 1-12 record and 8.84 ERA in 21 career major league games and hasn't won since 2004, and likely won't get a chance to win again soon. He was optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis after the game.

"I'll be back," he said. "It's the business, the nature of the beast, and I've got to rise up from this."

Still, he might be running out of chances after giving up eight earned runs in 7 2/3 innings and losing twice in four games following his April 29 call-up. The Pirates will make a roster move to replace him Tuesday in St. Louis.

Notes

  • The Pirates went into the doubleheader with a six-game errorless streak, only to commit six errors -- all but one by infielders.
  • Hudson lost his previous two road starts, pitching only three innings in each.
  • Braves 1B Mark Teixeira left in the fourth inning of the opener with back spasms on a cloudy, chilly 48-degree day. He didn't play in the second game.
  • Pittsburgh won the season series 5-2.
  • By losing the second game, Pittsburgh -- coming off 15 consecutive losing seasons -- missed a chance to reach .500.
 
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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Tim Hudson improves to 6-2 after yielding just two hits, while fanning five over seven innings.  (AP)
Tim Hudson improves to 6-2 after yielding just two hits, while fanning five over seven innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

T. Hudson
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 2
K 5
Atlanta

M. Kotsay
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B5120021 .261
Yunel Escobar, SS4121101 .319
Chipper Jones, 3B4111013 .406
   a- Omar Infante, PH-3B1000001 .308
Brian McCann, C5113011 .305
Greg Norton, 1B3110200 .400
Jeff Francoeur, RF5230002 .273
Mark Kotsay, CF5033003 .310
Gregor Blanco, LF5110016 .323
Tim Hudson, P4000014 .063
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
Totals41814836  
a-grounded out for Jones in the 8th
Batting
2B - Kelly Johnson (8, Osoria), Yunel Escobar (5, Van Benschoten), Jeff Francoeur (13, Yates), Mark Kotsay 2 (7, Van Benschoten, Osoria)
HR - Brian McCann (7, Van Benschoten)
RBI - Yunel Escobar (15), Chipper Jones (30), Brian McCann 3 (20), Mark Kotsay 3 (18)
2-OUT RBI - Yunel Escobar (10), Mark Kotsay (8)
SB - Gregor Blanco (2, 2nd base off Van Benschoten/Paulino)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Escobar-Johnson-Norton
E - Greg Norton (2, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson (W,6-2) 7210250 2.54
Blaine Boyer 1100020 4.03
Will Ohman 1200020 2.87
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 97-59, Blaine Boyer 13-9, Will Ohman 24-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 12-4
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 25, Blaine Boyer 4, Will Ohman 5
Pittsburgh Pirates
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4000022 .248
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
Doug Mientkiewicz, 3B-1B4110001 .204
Nate McLouth, CF4010000 .307
Jason Bay, LF3000111 .271
Xavier Nady, RF4020011 .340
Adam LaRoche, 1B3000011 .207
    Chris Gomez, 3B1000012 .267
Ronny Paulino, C4000022 .208
Luis Rivas, SS-2B2010100 .211
John Van Benschoten, P1000000 .000
    Franquelis Osoria, P0000000 .500
   a- Brian Bixler, PH-SS1000011 .177
Totals3115029  
a-struck out for Osoria in the 8th
Batting
2B - Doug Mientkiewicz (4, Hudson)
SH - Franquelis Osoria (1)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - F. Sanchez-LaRoche-Rivas, F. Sanchez-Rivas-LaRoche
E - Doug Mientkiewicz (1, Misplayed grounder), Franquelis Osoria (2, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
John Van Benschoten (L,0-2) 4976251 9.39
Franquelis Osoria 4411010 5.60
Tyler Yates 1100100 3.12
Pitches-Strikes - John Van Benschoten 77-50, Franquelis Osoria 45-37, Tyler Yates 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Van Benschoten 3-4, Franquelis Osoria 5-6, Tyler Yates 2-1
Batters Faced - John Van Benschoten 23, Franquelis Osoria 16, Tyler Yates 5
Game Information
Attendance - 16669
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 49
Umpires - Home - Angel Campos, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Charlie Reliford, Third Base - Kevin Causey