Braves' Hudson falls short of big win in 6-0 loss
by Chris Adamski, The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tim Hudson's chances for his 200th win sank when his pitches didn't.
Hudson came up short in his first attempt at win No. 200, allowing six runs on nine hits in four-plus innings in a 6-0 Atlanta Braves loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
"Some of his balls were not sinking like they normally do," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "When he's getting flyballs, you know the ball's not sinking. Plus, some balls were kind of left out over the plate a little bit.
"We didn't do anything offensively to help him out or get back in the game. Wandy (Rodriguez) was pretty good — that was pretty much the game there."
Left-hander Rodriguez faced the minimum while throwing seven innings of 1-hit ball and Pedro Alvarez homered for the second time in as many days for the Pirates, who have won seven of its past 10 after a 1-5 start to the season.
Braves outfielder B.J. Upton was ejected by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook after a called third strike call in the seventh inning. It was Holbrook who made a disputed infield fly rule call during the Braves' wild-card playoff game defeat last season.
Upton signed with Atlanta as a free agent in the offseason. He said he was aware of the history between Holbrook and the Braves but what made him upset was a dismissive hand motion Holbrook made toward Upton after Upton questioned the call.
"I'm going back to the dugout. We had our disagreements about the pitch. He thought it was a strike. I can live with that," Upton said. "But the shooing-away part, I'm a grown man and you just don't do that.
"I saw him kind of give me the hand gesture and I went from 0-60 pretty fast."
Hudson (2-1) fell to 199-105 in his 15-year career and 6-6 against the Pirates. His next victory will allow him to join Andy Pettitte and Roy Halladay as the only active 200-game winners.
It was quickly apparent Hudson did not have his best stuff. He was tagged for five extra-base hits in the first two innings, and two other Pirates outs in that span were hard-hit lineouts.
"It was just a night where I just wasn't very good from almost the start," Hudson said. "It was a battle from the beginning. But you've got to tip your hat to those guys."
The notoriously streaky Alvarez went homerless in his first 14 games before taking Julio Teheran deep in the series opener Thursday. Friday's second-inning shot with Neil Walker aboard cleared the section of seats that sit above the 21-foot wall in right field.
Later in the first, Jose Tabata doubled in Russell Martin.
Hudson was chased after allowing the first four batters of the fifth inning to reach. The final hitter he faced, Garrett Jones, lined a single down the left-field line with the bases loaded, driving in Jose Tabata and Snider.
Snider went 2 for 3 to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
The Braves (13-3) have not scored in any of their three losses this season.
Scratched from his most recent scheduled start after leaving his previous outing in the third inning because of a strained hamstring, Rodriguez (2-0) allowed only Jason Heyward's one-out single in the fourth. Justin Upton followed by grounding into a double play.
Rodriguez struck out five without a walk against a Braves lineup that leads the majors in home runs.
"When you see a guy twirling like he did today, there's not any team that's going to put up much against him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It wasn't just the strikes but the location of the strikes. It was like he was throwing darts.
"I don't know if we can afford to throw him every 11th day, but that was pretty special."
Mark Melancon pitched a perfect eighth and Vin Mazzaro allowed Andrelton Simmons' leadoff single in the ninth before finishing off the shutout, Pittsburgh's third this season.
Notes: Atlanta is 13-0 when it hits a home run and 0-3 when it does not. ... Braves LHP Luis Avilan threw a bullpen session Friday afternoon after not pitching since sustaining a left hamstring injury Tuesday. He remains day-to-day. ... The Pirates will donate the proceeds from Saturday's in-park 50/50 raffle to OneFundBoston.org. ... Former Pirates starter Paul Maholm will face Pittsburgh on Saturday for the fourth time since leaving as a free agent after the 2011 season. His 2.35 ERA since last season's all-star break is the sixth-best in the majors. His opponent will be RHP James McDonald, who allowed eight runs on eight hits in his previous outing Monday.