"I don't know how smart that was," Hudson said, laughing.
He sure noticed when Jones homered on the first pitch he saw in
his return to the lineup. Given an early lead, Hudson took a
shutout into the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the
Florida Marlins 5-2 on Wednesday.
"All of a sudden he gets in there and whacks a homer," Hudson
said. "Hopefully, he's in there to stay."
Adam LaRoche hit three doubles and drove in three runs for the
Braves, and Andruw Jones also homered. But everyone pointed to how
important it was to have Chipper Jones in the lineup for the first
time in more than a week.
"You know he can do damage," LaRoche said. "It took a lot of
the weight off a lot of guys' shoulders, not feeling like we had to
do it all. We've been pressing a little bit."
The teams split a two-game series at Turner Field, leaving the
Marlins (15-10) with a percentage-point lead over Atlanta (16-11)
in the NL East.
"It's going to be a battle until the end of the season," said
Hudson, who gave up five hits and one earned run in 7 1/3 innings.
"They're not going to go away, and neither are we."
Jones hurt his left foot while running the bases on April 24. He
didn't start the next seven games and was still in pain Wednesday,
but decided it was time to play.
"The first instant that I thought I could play, I was going to
get out there," he said.
He didn't take long to make an impact.
In the bottom of the first, Jones connected on a first-pitch
fastball from A.J. Burnett. The drive struck the top of the
right-field wall and skipped into the seats for Jones' fifth homer
of the season.
He was looking for the fastball after Burnett retired the first
two hitters on two pitches.
"There was a little strategy involved," Jones said. "A lot of
times the pitcher will lay it in there because they know we're
taught not to make three outs on three pitches. I thought it might
be the only fastball I would see all day. Sure enough, I ran into
Hudson (3-1) bounced back from his worst start of the season,
having surrendered nine hits and six runs in a loss to St. Louis.
He was dominant against the same Marlins lineup that put up 13 hits
on the Braves the night before.
"It's just location and getting ahead in the count," Hudson
said. "The key pitch is strike one, especially when you realize
that they're going to be patient."
Hudson escaped a big jam in the fourth but finally tired in the
eighth. Carlos Delgado's run-scoring double knocked out the Atlanta
starter, who threw 119 pitches.
Miguel Cabrera followed with an RBI single off Chris Reitsma,
but that was it for the Marlins. Reitsma got the last two outs in
the eighth, and Dan Kolb bounced back from a leadoff walk in the
ninth to record his eighth save in nine chances.
Burnett (3-2) had won three straight decisions, but he's now 0-2
against the Braves this season. He also lost to Atlanta in his
first start, though he surrendered only two earned runs in six
That established a trend for Burnett, who had given up two
earned runs in every start before Wednesday. This time against the
Braves, he was reached for nine hits and three runs -- both season
"Overall, he didn't do a bad job," manager Jack McKeon said.
"He kept us in the game."
The Braves scored four of their runs with two outs, getting back
at the Marlins for the previous night. Florida scored eight runs
that way in an 11-6 victory.
After Chipper Jones homered in the first, Johnny Estrada walked
and came all the way around to score on LaRoche's first double of
the day. The slow-running catcher barely beat the throw to the
plate to make it 2-0.
Andruw Jones hit his fourth homer leading off the fourth, and
LaRoche gave the Braves some insurance in the seventh after Travis
Smith took over for Burnett.
Again, the damage was done with two outs. Chipper Jones walked,
Estrada doubled and LaRoche brought them both home with a double
that nearly cleared the wall in right.
Hudson escaped one-out trouble in the fourth. Delgado walked and
Cabrera doubled down the left-field line to put runners at second
But Juan Encarnacion took a called third strike and Estrada made
a nice defensive play to end the inning, pouncing on Paul Lo Duca's
slow roller in front of the plate. Estrada made a whirling throw to
get the runner by a step, earning a pat on the back from Hudson.
"He had good stuff today," Encarnacion said of Hudson. "When
we see him the next time, I think we'll have a better feeling about
how he pitches."
Smith pitched with the Braves last season. ... Florida
hasn't swept the Braves since May 13-14, 1997.