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Braves' Hudson wins in first start since elbow surgery

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MIAMI -- Tim Hudson had waited more than a year to get back to the big leagues. After months of rehabilitation -- and a rain delay that lasted nearly three hours -- he finally got his chance.

Hudson pitched effectively into the sixth inning in his return to the majors, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Marlins on a rain-soaked Tuesday night.

Hudson (1-0) gave up six hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings in his first big league start since having elbow ligament replacement surgery almost 13 months ago.

"I wasn't sure we were going to get it in," Hudson said. "It took a while to get it going. But it was better late than never."

Brian McCann and Garret Anderson each had an RBI, and the Braves took advantage of a balk by starter Anibal Sanchez (2-6) to beat the Marlins for the second straight night in a series pivotal for both teams' postseason chances. Atlanta is three games behind Colorado for the NL wild card, and Florida fell five back.

Marlins All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez left in the top of the fifth with a tight left hamstring, the team said. Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said the "cramp" likely had a lot to do with the delay, and doesn't think the injury will sideline his star slugger.

A long day that ended with a loss was disheartening enough.

"I don't even know what time it is, really," Gonzalez said. "You're so locked in on a good ballgame. It was a one-run ballgame in the end. I'm sure it's going to hit me in about 20 minutes."

Dan Uggla hit his 24th home run in the ninth off Rafael Soriano. But the Braves closer regrouped to get his 21st save in 24 chances.

All that was after a rain delay that seemed as though it would never end. The final out came at 1:02 a.m. Wednesday.

"Yeah, it's frustrating," Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan said. "We had some chances and didn't capitalize. Lately it seems like we haven't got the big hit."

The rain and thunderstorms around the ballpark never let the starters warm up for the original start time. The Marlins were able to begin batting practice about 2½ hours before the game, then the sky quickly blackened, and fast-moving storms forced players to retreat to the dugout and sent the grounds crew scurrying to put the tarp on the field.

About 1,000 fans remained when the game finally started in a light drizzle at exactly 10 p.m., the field soggy but solid. The few left were wrapped in ponchos and damp clothes, a spirited bunch of Marlins and Braves fans who tried to make up for the stadium's orange and aqua seats left wet and empty.

None of that could put a damper on a big night for Atlanta's former ace.

Hudson had last pitched July 23, 2008, when he walked off the same mound in Florida with discomfort in his right arm. He had surgery last August.

"For his first outing, in starting three hours late, hanging out here all day, wondering when the first pitch was going to be about 10 different times, I thought he did great," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

Now, after more than a year recovering and more than a month of rehab starts in the minors, the right-hander rejoined a rotation that is already one of the strongest in the big leagues and looking to make a move into the playoffs.

"It gives us six good ones. It gives us a lot of options," Cox said.

Matt Diaz had a leadoff single and scored on a double play later in the first to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.

The Marlins answered fast in the bottom half, with Coghlan and Wes Helms starting with back-to-back doubles. Both scored on Jorge Cantu's single.

After Sanchez balked in a run, McCann hit an RBI double in the third that put Atlanta ahead 3-2.

Hudson loaded the bases in the sixth, but reliever Peter Moylan got Cody Ross to ground into a double play.

Notes

  • Florida has had three rainouts this season in Miami, a big reason the team is looking forward to a new retractable-roof ballpark expected to open in 2012.
 
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 (1-0) fares well in his first start in the majors since having elbow ligament replacement surgery.  (AP)
Tim Hudson (1-0) fares well in his first start in the majors since having elbow ligament replacement surgery. (AP)

Players of the Game
Florida

J. Cantu
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Atlanta

T. Hudson
IP 5.1
H 6
ER 2
BB 3
K 5
 
Atlanta Braves
Matt Diaz, RF5120032 .328
Martin Prado, 2B5110002 .304
Chipper Jones, 3B3100112 .276
Brian McCann, C4021010 .286
Garret Anderson, LF3011101 .288
    Reid Gorecki, PR-LF0000000 .227
Yunel Escobar, SS4010013 .306
Adam LaRoche, 1B3000112 .271
Omar Infante, CF4000021 .314
Tim Hudson, P1100100 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   a- Ryan Church, PH1010000 .281
    Kris Medlen, P0000000 .000
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
   b- Greg Norton, PH1010000 .149
    Kelly Johnson, PR0000000 .213
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals3449249  
a-doubled for Moylan in the 7th
b-singled for Gonzalez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Brian McCann (31, Sanchez), Ryan Church (27, Badenhop)
RBI - Brian McCann (73), Garret Anderson (51)
2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann (40)
SB - Kelly Johnson (7, 2nd base off Lindstrom/Paulino)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - LaRoche-Escobar, Prado-LaRoche, Escobar-Prado-LaRoche
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson (W,1-0) 5.1622350 3.38
Peter Moylan (H,21) 0.2000000 3.10
Kris Medlen (H,1) 1000020 4.13
Mike Gonzalez (H,14) 1100020 2.30
Rafael Soriano (S,21) 1111111 2.51
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 82-50, Peter Moylan 2-2, Kris Medlen 12-7, Mike Gonzalez 24-17, Rafael Soriano 22-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 6-4, Peter Moylan 1-0, Rafael Soriano 1-0
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 24, Peter Moylan 1, Kris Medlen 3, Mike Gonzalez 4, Rafael Soriano 4
Florida Marlins
Chris Coghlan, LF4130000 .301
Wes Helms, 3B3110101 .281
Hanley Ramirez, SS2000013 .355
    Emilio Bonifacio, SS2000010 .253
Jorge Cantu, 1B4032002 .280
John Baker, C2000101 .273
   a- Ronny Paulino, PH-C1000011 .268
Dan Uggla, 2B3111110 .243
Cody Ross, CF3000111 .267
Jeremy Hermida, RF4000021 .261
Anibal Sanchez, P1000010 .000
   b- Cameron Maybin, PH1000010 .200
    Burke Badenhop, P0000000 .000
   c- Ross Gload, PH1000010 .251
    Renyel Pinto, P0000000 .000
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
   d- Brett Carroll, PH1000001 .247
Totals32383410  
a-struck out for Baker in the 8th
b-struck out for Sanchez in the 5th
c-struck out for Badenhop in the 7th
d-grounded into a double play for Lindstrom in the 9th
Batting
2B - Chris Coghlan (19, Hudson), Wes Helms (11, Hudson), Jorge Cantu (33, Hudson)
HR - Dan Uggla (24, Soriano)
RBI - Jorge Cantu 2 (73), Dan Uggla (70)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Uggla-H. Ramirez-Cantu, H. Ramirez-Uggla-Cantu
Florida Marlins
Anibal Sanchez (L,2-6) 5533240 5.01
Burke Badenhop 2100120 4.04
Renyel Pinto 1211110 3.18
Matt Lindstrom 1100020 5.27
WP - Renyel Pinto (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 93-56, Burke Badenhop 28-15, Renyel Pinto 29-17, Matt Lindstrom 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 6-3, Burke Badenhop 2-2
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 20, Burke Badenhop 8, Renyel Pinto 6, Matt Lindstrom 4
Game Information
Attendance - 14024
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Adrian Johnson