NEW YORK (AP) -- The big question in the NL East early this season is whether Atlanta still has enough pitching to hold off the New York Mets.
Glavine vs. NL East Opponents (Since Joining Mets in 2003)
Winners of 14 straight division titles, the Braves delivered an emphatic answer this week.Tim Hudson took a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning before finishing with a three-hit gem and Atlanta got another big homer from Andruw Jones in a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Mets."You don't look at the lineups and decide who wins the game," Hudson said. "Today was a lot of fun for me personally, especially the way I started the year."Hudson outpitched Tom Glavine in a matchup of All-Stars in peak form. The right-hander retired his first 15 batters before Ramon Castro's leadoff single in the sixth and held on with some help from his defense.It was the second stellar outing in a row for the Braves, who also got a three-hitter from 22-year-old Kyle Davies in a 7-1 win Tuesday night."It's good to see our starting pitchers go out and perform the way they did the past two days," Jones said. "I'm really proud of the way they've been pitching."Mets third baseman David Wright made three errors and hit a game-ending groundout with a runner on after Chris Woodward's RBI single.Jones hit his fifth homer in four games for the Braves, who took two of three in the first series this season between the NL East rivals. The Mets fell to 10-4 -- they won their opening four series for the first time in franchise history."We'll probably be going back-and-forth all season with these guys," New York manager Willie Randolph said.Hudson (1-1) struck out six and walked one, throwing 65 of 97 pitches for strikes in his 19th career complete game. All three wins by Braves starters this season have been complete games in a five-day span.Glavine (2-1) was nearly as good against his former team, allowing two runs -- one earned -- and four hits in eight innings. He struck out five and walked none.With both aces dominating depleted lineups, the game took only 1 hour, 59 minutes."Both of us threw well. He threw a little bit better," Glavine said. "It's one of those games that's tough to lose."Jones connected with two outs in the seventh, and Atlanta added an important run in the eighth thanks to a pair of miscues by Wright, who began the day with zero errors."They were tough plays, but this is the big leagues and tough plays have to be made," Wright said. "I'm more disappointed in letting Tom down and letting the team down than I am making the errors for me personally."Hudson, who struggled through his first three starts and came in with an uncharacteristic 9.20 ERA, entered the ninth inning seeking his ninth career shutout and first since August 2004 with Oakland.Jose Reyes doubled with one out and scored on Woodward's single, but Hudson retired Carlos Delgado on a fly to left and got Wright on a grounder to shortstop.Hudson improved to 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA in five starts against the Mets."My slider was really good to start the game. I realized that. Just throw it until they hit it," he said.After Castro's single, a throwing error by Brian Jordan, making his second career start at first base, helped the Mets mount a threat. But left fielder Matt Diaz caught Reyes' routine fly and threw a strike to the plate to cut down Castro for an inning-ending double play."When I let it go I had a good feeling," Diaz said. "Seven total hits. Defense is going to win that game."Hudson yelled and pumped his first, high-fived catcher Todd Pratt and pointed to Diaz in appreciation."I almost blew my leg out. It was exciting," Hudson said. "Luckily for us we had a catcher trying to score from third."He also got defensive help from shortstop Tony Pena, making his first major-league start. The son of former big-league catcher and Kansas City manager Tony Pena made a pair of outstanding plays, robbing Woodward of hits in the fourth and seventh.Jones, who hit a pair of two-run shots Tuesday night, drove a 2-0 pitch over the right-center fence for his eighth homer of the season. He began the day leading the majors with 22 RBI."He's been able to turn it up a few notches and pick us up on his shoulders," Hudson said. "That's what superstars are supposed to do."Hudson put two runners on in the seventh and then got Xavier Nady to ground into an inning-ending double play.Atlanta was missing 75 percent of its regular infield and its top three hitters because of injuries to second baseman Marcus Giles, shortstop Edgar Renteria and third baseman Chipper Jones.The Mets played without ailing center fielder Carlos Beltran,
left fielder Cliff Floyd and rookie second baseman Anderson Hernandez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game.
Hernandez had an MRI that showed a bulging disc in his back. The Mets plan to activate second baseman Kaz Matsui in time for Thursday night's game in San Diego. ... Giles was headed back to Atlanta after the game to have the middle finger on his left hand checked out.