Braves' losing skid reaches nine after loss to Jays

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves, desperate for a sign that
their bad luck and losing streak might end, instead were given an
early indication Wednesday night the misery would continue.

After retiring the first two Toronto batters in the third
inning, Tim Hudson gave up three straight walks and then saw Lyle
Overbay's broken-bat fly ball drop in shallow center field for a
two-run single that sparked the Blue Jays to a 6-3 victory over the

The loss was the Braves' ninth straight, their longest losing
streak in 18 years.

"That's baseball," Hudson said of Overbay's hit. "We're just
not very good right now. We're just playing bad baseball. We've got
to do everything better."

The Braves have lost nine straight games for the first time
since opening the 1988 season with 10 straight losses.

The Braves have lost 19 of 22 games, including a 2-17 mark in
June. They trail first-place New York by 14½ games in the NL East,
their largest deficit since 1990 when Atlanta finished last, 26
games back.

Atlanta (30-42) is 12 games under .500, another low point for
the franchise since the end of the 1990 season.

"It's frustrating," said Jeff Francoeur, who had two of the
Braves' seven hits. "To come out every day and lose like this is
really frustrating. It's no fun losing like this."

Hudson seemed to be the ideal candidate to end the Braves'
losing streak. While with Oakland, Hudson was 10-1 with a 2.32 ERA
in 13 career starts against the Blue Jays, including five straight

Instead, Hudson was hurt by five walks as he couldn't keep pace
with Toronto's Ted Lilly, who won his second straight start after
three consecutive losses.

Vernon Wells hit his 18th homer for Toronto and Lilly (7-7) gave
up six hits and three runs in six innings with seven strikeouts and
two walks.

B.J. Ryan recorded the final three outs for his 19th save in 20

Hudson (6-6) gave up seven hits and five runs in seven innings.

For his second straight start, Hudson walked three in the third
and they all scored. He also walked three batters who scored in the
third inning of a 4-2 loss to Boston last Friday.

Hudson's wild streak against Toronto came with two outs in the
third. He walked Frank Catalanotto, Wells and Troy Glaus. Overbay
then broke his bat while hitting a single to shallow center,
driving in two runs.

The bad omen for Atlanta was good news for Toronto.

"You're kind of like, man, hopefully this is going to be the
night," Overbay said. "You definitely don't want to hit it any
closer to Andruw (Jones). I was surprised he didn't catch it."

Overbay's hit hurt, but Hudson was more upset about the three

"I was trying to make the perfect pitch, I guess," Hudson
said, adding the Toronto batters consistently laid off "good
pitcher's pitches."

Said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons of the three walks: "That's
rare. The key is, we got something out of it with two outs."

Shea Hillenbrand and Gregg Zaun added run-scoring singles for a
4-0 lead. The inning ended with Braves second baseman Marcus Giles
diving into the seats down the right-field line to catch Russ
Adams' foul ball.

The Braves scored one run in the fifth on Brian McCann's leadoff
single and stolen base and Giles' two-out double.

The Braves scored two runs in the sixth to make it 4-3. Chipper
Jones led off with Lilly's second walk of the game and scored when
Andruw Jones and Francoeur followed with singles. One out later,
McCann drove in Andruw Jones with a sacrifice fly.

Wells' homer in the seventh made it 5-3 and a run scored on a
wild pitch in the eighth.

Game notes
After the game, Toronto announced RHP Francisco Rosario had
been sent to Triple-A Syracuse to clear a roster spot for RHP A.J.
Burnett to be activated for Thursday's game. ... Lilly was making
his first start at Turner Field since Sept. 19, 1999, while with
Montreal. He had been 0-2 in three starts against the Braves. ...
After making two starts in left field, Braves rookie Scott Thorman
made his first start at first base, his natural position.