Hudson Pitches Eight Shutout Innings to Lead Braves to Win

Tim Hudson pitched eight shutout innings and a couple of two-out hits provided all the offense the Braves needed as they took the series lead over the Giants with a 3-0 win.

Hudson was perfect through four and allowed his first hit in the fifth, which was erased by a double play. The same happened in the sixth as he allowed a leadoff single and it was erased by a double play. He walked one and hit a batter in the seventh but both were with two outs and he got the third out on a groundout. After giving up a leadoff double to Pat Burrell in the eighth, he fought hard to get three straight outs and end at 112 pitches.

Of that total, Hudson threw 76 strikes. He threw first pitch strikes to 16 of 27 batters and induced 17 groundouts to one flyout. It’s probably as close to perfection as the Braves have seen from a starter this season. The Giants reached third base one time in the game. Hudson walked one and struck out six, allowing just the three hits.

Billy Wagner did everything on his own tonight, coming to the realization that the defense can’t mess the game up if they don’t get the ball to begin with. He struck out the side on 11 pitches, throwing ten strikes.

The big inning for the Braves came in the fourth, when Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones set the table with a double and single to start the inning. Brian McCann grounded out to first to move Chipper to second, but couldn’t score Heyward. After Eric Hinske was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out, Alex Gonzalez flew out to shallow left to hold the runners in place. It took a two-out single by Troy Glaus to break the scoreless tie, bringing home two runs. Rick Ankiel followed with an RBI double for a three-run lead.

The offense walked a couple times but never threatened again. Glaus and Ankiel combined for all three RBIs. Chipper continues to swing a hot bat, going 2-4 with a double. Heyward reached base twice on a double and walk and struck out twice. Hinske picked up two walks, one intentional. I should also mention Glaus hit into two double plays when he wasn’t driving in the go-ahead runs, just for the sake of appearance.

The Mets squeezed out a 1-0 win over the Phillies behind a strong outing by Johan Santana and a solo homer by Jeff Francoeur. The win puts the Braves back at two games over the Phillies with one tough matchup to go against the Giants. The Sunday afternoon game features Jonathan Sanchez against Derek Lowe.