Atlanta, GA – Tim Hudson won his season debut, throwing five innings Sunday to help the Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3.
Hudson (1-0) missed almost a month while rehabbing from offseason back surgery but struck out six Pirates, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks.
"It felt great to get back out there," said Hudson. "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."
Martin Prado had a solo homer and Michael Bourn added three hits for the Braves, who have won four of their last five. Craig Kimbrel gave up a run in the ninth inning on a wild pitch, but held on for his eighth save.
Atlanta has won two of three in the four-game series, which ends Monday night.
Pirates starter Kevin Correia (1-1) 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 the Pirates.
Hudson, who was 2-2 in four rehab starts in the minors, threw 63 of 96 pitches for strikes. Brian McCann was behind the plate for him after coming back from a one-game absence with a strained muscle in his right side.
"It was a hard-fought battle from both sides. A close ball game," said Hudson. "It's nice to win these tight ones, these close games."
Hudson was shaky early on, giving up a single to Tabata in the first inning and hitting Andrew McCutchen with a pitch.
In the second, Hudson gave up a leadoff single to Pedro Alvarez, who went to second on Michael McKenry's one-out base hit. Both runners moved up on Correia's sacrifice bunt, and the pair scored on Tabata's single for a 2-0 Pirates lead.
But Hudson scored Atlanta's first run after reaching base on McCutchen's drop in center field in the third inning. Freddie Freeman eventually knocked him in with a sac fly, and the Braves tied the game in the fourth after Dan Uggla drew a leadoff walk, went to second on a ground out and scored on Tyler Pastornicky's double.
"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.
Correia came out during a shaky fifth inning after giving up the lead. Bourn led off the frame with a single, but the run scored after Correia surrendered three walks to Prado, McCann and Uggla to give the Braves a 3-2 edge.
Brad Lincoln relieved Correia and got two straight outs to escape the bases- loaded situation.
Prado led off the seventh with a first-pitch homer off Lincoln to push Atlanta's lead to 4-2.
The Pirates went just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 on base. They out-hit the Braves 8-7...Atlanta also left 10 men on base and was 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.