The Atlanta Braves target their sixth straight series win when they wrap up a four-game set tonight versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Atlanta has been on a roll lately with nine wins in its last 12 games, including a 4-3 victory over the Pirates Sunday from Turner Field. Tim Hudson posted his first win in his season debut (1-0) by holding Pittsburgh to a pair of runs on six hits with six strikeouts. He also scored a run.
"It felt great to get back out there," said Hudson, who underwent back surgery in the offseason. "Physically, I feel great. My back's not an issue. It's still a little bit of a work in progress (but) I feel like I'm on my way to getting back to where I want to be."
Relievers Chad Durbin, Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters each threw a scoreless inning of relief, while closer Craig Kimbrel allowed a run in the ninth before settling down for his eighth save.
Martin Prado had a solo homer and Michael Bourn added three hits for the Braves, who will host Philadelphia for three games on this homestand.
Mike Minor will toe the rubber for Atlanta this evening and he is 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA in four trips to the hill. Minor did not record a decision his last time out in a 4-3 win at Los Angeles last Tuesday and was reached for three runs on eight hits in six innings.
The lefty, who had won two straight starts over Milwaukee and Arizona, did not post a decision the only time he faced Pittsburgh last May 25.
Pittsburgh has alternated wins and losses over its last 10 games.
In Sunday's one-run loss, Kevin Correia gave up three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss. Jose Tabata had three hits and two RBI for Pittsburgh.
"We've got to make sure we stay on top of our defense and help out the pitching as best we can," said Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
The Pirates will also visit St. Louis for three games on this road trip and are scheduled to send James McDonald to the bump Monday. McDonald flirted with a no-hitter his last time out in a 2-1 loss versus Colorado last Wednesday. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and finished with seven strong innings of one-run ball and eight K's.
McDonald has posted consecutive no-decisions and is 0-1 with a 2.78 ERA in four starts. He is 2-0 with a 0.81 ERA in five career matchups, three of which have been starts, against the Braves.
The Braves have won 12 of their last 18 games against the Pirates, including seven of 10 at Turner Field.