Braves 13, Diamondbacks 1
The Arizona Diamondbacks are still losing ground while in last place in the NL West.
Hudson gave up three hits in eight innings and Martin Prado hit two home runs to lead the Braves past the Diamondbacks, 13-1 on Sunday. The Braves moved past the New York Mets and into sole possession of fourth place in the division for the first time since April 23.
``That's important, that's a big win for us,'' said Prado, who had four hits and drove in three runs. The Braves have won five of six, the lone loss coming to Arizona on Saturday night, while the Diamondbacks have lost eight of nine.
Eric Hinske and Troy Glaus also had homers for Atlanta, which had 14 hits.
``We knew we had a pretty good offense,'' Prado said. ``I'm glad all my teammates are getting their hitting going.''
Hudson (4-1) improved to 3-0 in May with his longest start of the season. He struck out six and walked only one batter in his strongest start of his comeback from elbow ligament-replacement surgery in 2008.
``He could become an ace again,'' said Braves manager Bobby Cox. ``Looks like he is.''
Hudson's catcher in his first career start with Oakland on June 8, 1999, was A.J. Hinch, who was in the other dugout as Arizona's manager.
``Hudson had his way with us,'' Hinch said. ``He was throwing strikes. He had a quick tempo. He pitched aggressively. He moved the ball in and out. He puts fear in a batter.''
Hinch, recalling his time with Hudson in Oakland, said before Sunday's game that the right-hander ``is a good example of what's right in our game today.'' A smiling Hinch then added, ``And I hope he gives up 10 runs today.''
Instead, Hinch's pitchers gave up more than 10 runs.
Dan Haren (4-3) lasted only 4 1-3 innings after throwing at least six innings in each of his first eight starts. Haren gave up eight hits and seven runs, six of them earned. He trailed only 3-1 before giving up four runs on four hits in the fifth.
``That's as bad as I've been,'' Haren said. ``I struggled to throw strikes. I was really fighting myself, looking for stuff that wasn't there.''
Haren walked three and struck out two. Five Arizona pitchers combined for nine walks.
``We're getting in the habit of getting ourselves in trouble with walks,'' Hinch said. ``That's deadly. That's what starts blowouts and makes it ugly.''
Hudson also had two hits, including a run-scoring double.
``I felt like I was back on the Plains,'' Hudson said, referring to his college days as a star pitcher and outfielder at Auburn.
Hinske continued to take advantage of increased playing time with Matt Diaz on the disabled list, driving in four runs with two hits, and Glaus kept up his hot May with three hits.
Eric O'Flaherty pitched a perfect ninth to complete the three-hitter. The Diamondbacks left only one runner on base.
Prado helped Hudson with a defensive highlight in the eighth. After Chris Young singled for Arizona's third hit, John Hester hit a soft fly ball into shallow right field. Prado made the catch running toward the outfield and threw back to first base from his knees for a double play.
Prado said he tried to avoid worrying about a collision with Jason Heyward in right field.
``I heard him,'' said Prado of the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Heyward.
Heard him? Did Heyward call for the ball?
``No, I just heard him,'' Prado said. ``He's a big dude.''
Glaus led off the eighth with a homer off the top of the center-field wall off Bob Howry. After hitting only .194 in April, Glaus has two or more hits in eight of his last 14 games to lift his average to .283.
Prado led off the first with a homer into the second row of the left-field seats. Heyward followed with a walk, moved to third on a broken-bat, hit-and-run single by Glaus and scored on Hinske's fly ball to center field.
Adam LaRoche singled and later scored on Young's fielder's choice grounder in the second. Hudson then recorded 12 straight outs.
NOTES: Prado had his first leadoff homer and two-homer game of his career. ... Hinch said RHP Billy Buckner will be recalled from Triple-A Reno to start for Arizona on Tuesday at Florida. Buckner was 4-6 with a 6.40 ERA with Arizona in 2009. ... RHP Kris Benson, attempting a comeback, will start a game in Arizona's extended spring training on Wednesday. ... The Braves activated LHP Jo-Jo Reyes (knee) and optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he will work as a starter.