ATLANTA (AP) — Tim Hudson made it sound so simple.
“I located my sinker really well, changed speeds with my cutter,” he said. “Change their eye level as much as I can. Stay down in the zone other than that.”
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No big deal at all, just another victory for the tough right-hander.
Hudson had everything working Saturday night, throwing eight dominant innings to help the Atlanta Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 3-0 on Saturday night.
Billy Wagner, who blew a save opportunity in Atlanta’s 3-2, 11-inning loss to the Giants on Friday night, finished for his 27th save in 33 chances, striking out the side.
Hudson (13-5) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out six, improving to 4-0 with a sparkling 0.63 ERA in his last four starts. He is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his last five starts against the Giants, dating to 2006.
“It’s funny,” Hudson said. “Chipper (Jones) told me before the game, ‘You’re going to have three runs to play with. Make it last.'”
Troy Glaus hit a two-run single in a three-run fourth for the NL East-leading Braves, who have won three of four to improve to 38-15 at home, best in the majors.
Matt Cain (9-9) allowed six hits in five innings for San Francisco, which has dropped three of four. Cain was 3-0 with 1.52 ERA in his previous four starts.
“Matt pitched well,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He was a pitch away from getting out of that inning.”
The Braves got all the runs they needed in the fourth. Glaus’ two-out hit with the bases loaded drove in Jason Heyward and Jones. Rick Ankiel followed with an RBI double.
“(Glaus) just beat me,” Cain said. “There’s not much you can do when you make the pitch you want to make and he still hits it. It was a fastball, down and away.”
Hudson got into a bit of a trouble in the seventh when he walked Aubrey Huff and hit Buster Posey with a pitch with two out. But he responded by getting Juan Uribe to bounce into a fielder’s choice.
With a runner on third and one out in the eighth, Hudson struck out Aaron Rowand and retired pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa on a harmless grounder to second to end the inning.
“I would much rather have double plays throughout the game,” Hudson said, “than (strike) out a bunch of guys.”
Hudson improved to 130-2 in 155 career starts when his team scores at least three runs while he’s still in the game. He is 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA in eight starts since losing 4-2 at the Chicago White Sox on June 23.
“He was in complete control,” Jones said. “Command, all night, from the get-go. It’s no wonder that we play some of our best defensive games behind him because he doesn’t walk anybody. He keeps us on our toes. He hits his spots and allows us to be in the right spots to make the plays.”
Hudson got some help from his defense in the fourth. On Juan Uribe’s hard grounder, shortstop Alex Gonzalez dove hard to his left and used his glove to scoop the ball to second baseman Omar Infante, who turned the double play.
“I just love watching him play short,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “I don’t know who does that.”
Atlanta has dropped just one series this year, April 20-22 against Philadelphia, at Turner Field. The Braves can win this set with a victory Sunday.
NOTES: Atlanta rookie LHP Mike Minor, the seventh overall draft pick of 2009, will make his starting debut Monday at Houston. The Braves purchased his contract from Triple-A Gwinnett. RHP Kenshin Kawakami was optioned to Gwinnett. … Posey, who grew up in Leesburg, Ga., ended a 0-for-9 slide in the series with his fifth-inning single.