Braves reel in Marlins to end losing run

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The Atlanta Braves brought a four-game losing streak to a shuddering halt with a resounding 12-3 victory over the Florida Marlins on Saturday.

The win allowed the Braves to maintain a two-game lead in the National League East over the Philadelphia Phillies, who had earlier defeated the San Diego Padres 3-1.

"We knew Philly won today," Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson told reporters. "We knew we had to go out there and put up a 'W' (win) one way or another. It just happened to be pretty one-sided."

Hudson, who had no decisions in his previous two starts, recorded his 15th win of the season, striking out a career high 13 batters in seven innings while allowing one run on six hits and one walk.

"What a guy to have after you've come off a little end-of-a-road-trip series," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He was the guy that reminded us of old (Tom) Glavine and (Greg) Maddux and Smoltzie (John Smoltz)."

The Braves sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the second inning, including a lead-off home run by Matt Diaz, to end the night for Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, who gave up seven hits and three walks.

"Just stunk pretty much," Nolasco lamented. "I didn't throw anything where I wanted to."

The Braves added to their lead with two runs in the third inning off just one hit, and two more in the fourth, including a solo home run by Eric Hinske.

Hinske had replaced, Derrek Lee who left the game with a with a mild right side strain.

Third baseman Martin Prado went 2-for-4, with a two-run home run in the seventh, two runs scored and five RBIs to lead the Atlanta offense, while catcher Brian McCann went 2-for-3 with three runs batted in.

Hudson's second strikeout of the game was the 1,500th of his career.

"I don't consider myself a strikeout pitcher, so a milestone like that is something I'm proud of," Hudson said. "I didn't even know I was coming close to 1,500 strikeouts until the fans started cheering. I thought, 'What the heck is going on'?

"It was pretty cool. The reaction of the fans was awesome. I had goosebumps out there, and that doesn't happen to me very often."

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien)