It's been exactly two months since Atlanta Braves veteran ace Tim Hudson has prevailed on the mound. The Braves are hoping Hudson can turn it around when he gets the call Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Hudson hasn't won since May 5 and is 0-6 with a 4.50 earned run average in his last 10 starts. The Braves are 4-6 in that time and still couldn't get Hudson a win in last Saturday's 11-5 beating of Arizona. The right-hander allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings before the Braves turned it on late offensively.
In 17 starts this season, Hudson is 4-7 with a 4.22 ERA and did not record a decision versus Philadelphia April 1 at Turner Field. He lasted 4 1/3 innings and was touched for three runs and six hits. Hudson is 10-9 with a 3.81 ERA in 28 career starts against the Phillies.
The Braves blew a 3-0 lead in Thursday's 4-3 setback to the Miami Marlins and dropped the last two installments of the three-game series. Donovan Solano's RBI single scored Ed Lucas and Braves closer Craig Kimbrel absorbed the loss.
"We had some opportunities and scored three runs right off the start," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But we couldn't get much going after that and they just kept chipping away."
Freddie Freeman drove in a pair of runs and Brian McCann had two hits and an RBI for the NL East-leading Braves, who had won four straight and six of seven until losing two in a row to Miami. Julio Teheran started on Thursday and gave up three runs in five innings.
Atlanta is six games ahead of Washington and 8 1/2 games in front of Philadelphia for the division lead. The Braves hope they can keep the Phillies at bay in this upcoming series at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies took two of three to cool off the sizzling Pittsburgh Pirates and capped the series with Thursday's 6-4 win. Cole Hamels ended a four-start drought (0-2) for his third win of the season (3-11) by giving up just two runs, one of which was earned, in seven innings. Hamels, who took some extra days' rest, struck out eight batters and did not issue a walk.
"His command was sharp today compared to what we'd seen in the last few outings," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Hamels. "His fastball command he mixed with the early changeup, which came into play. The curveball also came into play. The cutter. As far as his pitch efficiency overall, it was a good outing overall."
Ben Revere had three hits and two RBI, while Carlos Ruiz had a big two-run single during a four-run sixth inning for the Phillies, who went 5-5 on their road trip and will play 10 in a row at home.
Cliff Lee gets the nod in the opener with Atlanta and is riding an 11-game unbeaten streak in which he is 7-0 with a 2.15 earned run average. The Phils are 8-3 in that time and Lee last loss on May 1. He has posted back-to-back no-decisions and previously took the mound in last Saturday's 4-3 loss at Los Angeles, allowing three runs in seven innings with 10 strikeouts.
The Phillies have lost each of Lee's last two appearances and the veteran left-hander hopes that trend comes to a halt against an Atlanta team he defeated on April 4. In that 2-0 win for Philadelphia, Lee fanned eight batters over eight scoreless innings and is 5-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 11 career meetings -- all starts -- with the Braves.
Atlanta won two of three in that early April set and is 14-7 in the past 21 matchups between the NL East foes.