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Washington at Atlanta

Scoreboard
Washington (11-12)0000003003121
Atlanta (16-11) «03000100x4100

Braves 4, Nationals 3

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Hours after being picked as the Atlanta Braves' starter on opening day, Tim Hudson showed why he deserved the honor.

Hudson threw six scoreless innings and Justin Upton hit a towering home run to lead the Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

Hudson came into the game with a 5.40 ERA this spring. He allowed six hits, struck out five and walked none.

"That's him, right there," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "His command on all his pitches was excellent."

Hudson threw 45 of his 65 pitches for strikes.

"Today was the biggest step I've made this spring," Hudson said. "My arm strength felt a lot better and that means a lot to all of my pitches."

Hudson will be making his third opening start for the Braves when he faces Philadelphia on April 1. He also drew the assignment in 2006 and 2008 after starting three openers previously with Oakland.

"It's an honor and a privilege to pitch on opening day with any club, especially with this team," Hudson said. "I feel that we have a lot of guy who were deserving of it."

The 37-year-old Hudson was 16-7 with a 3.62 ERA last year despite missing the first month while recovering from back surgery.

"Why not give it to the veteran guy?" Gonzalez said of picking Hudson over Kris Medlen, who was 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA after joining the Braves' rotation last season. "The opening day start is a special thing. They'll downplay it, but it's a special thing."

Nationals starter Dan Haren, though, continued to have some rough spots. He allowed eight hits and four runs in 5 1-3 innings and has a 6.05 ERA this spring.

Upton's homer leading off the sixth cleared the scoreboard in deep left-center field. It was his fifth homer of the spring and gave him 17 RBIs in 20 games.

"I thought that ball was never coming down," Gonzalez said.

Said Upton: "They all feel the same when I hit them. I don't know if that was one of my longest or not."

Haren gave up two singles following Upton's homer and was pulled after 90 pitches.

"I'm just kind of frustrated with the way it finished," Haren said. "I've just got to do a better job putting away hitters and I have to throw more strikes. But it was definitely an improvement from the last start."

Tyler Pastornicky and Chris Johnson each had a double and single off Haren. Reed Johnson also had two hits for the Braves.

Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa both had two hits for the Nationals.

NOTES: CF Roger Bernardino returned to the Nationals after playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic and was 0 for 1 as a late-game replacement. ... Nationals closer Rafael Soriano had a root canal on Thursday, but is still expected to pitch in a game against the Tigers on Friday. RHP Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start. ... LHP Paul Maholm, who hasn't allowed a run over 14 2-3 innings in his past three outings, will start for the Braves against the Phillies on Friday.

 
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. Pastornicky
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Washington

I. Desmond
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF3000011 .220
    Roger Bernadina, CF1000001 .000
Jayson Werth, RF3010010 .297
    Tyler Moore, RF-1B1000010 .250
Bryce Harper, LF3010011 .396
    Craig Stammen, P0000000 .000
   a- Carlos Maldonado, PH1000010 .300
    Drew Storen, P0000000 .000
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3110011 .364
    Chad Tracy, 3B1010000 .216
Adam LaRoche, 1B2110001 .152
    Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B1000001 .164
Ian Desmond, SS3121001 .286
    Carlos Rivero, SS1000000 .171
Danny Espinosa, 2B3021002 .315
    Destin Hood, RF1010000 .400
Wilson Ramos, C4000010 .364
Dan Haren, P2010000 .500
    Micah Owings, LF2010011 .393
Totals35312208  
a-struck out for Stammen in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ian Desmond (2, Avilan)
RBI - Ian Desmond (5), Danny Espinosa (5)
PK - Denard Span (1, Hudson)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Ramos-Zimmerman, Lombardozzi-Rivero-Moore
E - Danny Espinosa (1, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dan Haren (L,0-3) 5.1844151 6.05
Craig Stammen 1.2100010 3.65
Drew Storen 1100010 5.00
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 38-34, Craig Stammen 7-7, Drew Storen 6-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 6-5, Craig Stammen 3-0, Drew Storen 1-1
Batters Faced - Dan Haren 25, Craig Stammen 5, Drew Storen 4
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andrelton Simmons, SS3010100 .333
    Cory Gearrin, P0000000 .000
    Anthony Varvaro, P0000000 .000
Reed Johnson, CF4021001 .208
    Jordan Schafer, PR-CF0000000 .255
Jason Heyward, RF4000013 .232
    Ramiro Pena, SS0000000 .257
Justin Upton, LF4111032 .286
    Jordan Parraz, RF0000000 .306
Juan Francisco, 3B3110000 .352
    Joe Terdoslavich, 1B1010000 .447
Chris Johnson, 1B3120010 .368
    Luis Avilan, P0000000 .000
    Jose Constanza, RF-LF1000001 .000
Tyler Pastornicky, 2B4122001 .404
    Luis Nunez, 2B0000000 .500
Matt Pagnozzi, C3000023 .348
Tim Hudson, P2000001 .000
   a- Blake DeWitt, PH-3B1000002 .200
Totals33410417  
a-grounded out for Hudson in the 6th
Batting
2B - Joe Terdoslavich (4, Storen), Chris Johnson (2, Haren), Tyler Pastornicky (3, Haren)
HR - Justin Upton (5, Haren)
RBI - Reed Johnson (2), Justin Upton (17), Tyler Pastornicky 2 (13)
2-OUT RBI - Reed Johnson (2)
CS - Andrelton Simmons (1, 3rd base by Haren/Ramos)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jason Heyward 1
DP - Pastornicky-Simmons-Johnson, Simmons-Pastornicky-Terdoslavich
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tim Hudson (W,2-1) 6600050 4.15
Luis Avilan (H,3) 1433000 5.79
Cory Gearrin (H,7) 1100020 2.00
Anthony Varvaro (S,3) 1100010 4.50
HBP - LaRoche (by Luis Avilan)
WP - Tim Hudson (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 32-31, Luis Avilan 7-6, Cory Gearrin 8-8, Anthony Varvaro 6-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 6-4, Luis Avilan 1-1, Cory Gearrin 1-0, Anthony Varvaro 1-1
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 21, Luis Avilan 7, Cory Gearrin 4, Anthony Varvaro 4
Game Information
Attendance - 8563
Game Time - 2:22
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Andy Fletcher