Hudson outdueled as Braves shut out by Cubs

CHICAGO (AP) — Tim Hudson pitched well enough to win

on most days. He allowed five hits and a run in seven innings but his

Atlanta Braves teammates had even more trouble with Chicago lefty Paul

Maholm.

Maholm and two relievers combined on a

four-hit shutout and the Braves wasted Hudson’s strong outing, losing to

the Cubs 1-0 Wednesday.

“Huddy was outstanding,”

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I thought we had some balls hit

right at people with people in scoring position. They did a nice job

defending us there.”

Maholm (4-2) allowed three hits

in seven innings and combined with James Russell and Rafael Dolis to

blank the Braves in a game that took only 2 hours, 5 minutes. Maholm

walked three and struck out three as Chicago took two of three from

Atlanta after doing the same in the previous series against the

Dodgers.

After Maholm came out to warm up for the

eighth, Russell replaced him and gave up a two-out double to Martin

Prado and a walk to Freddie Freeman, then retired Dan Uggla on a flyout.

Dolis worked the ninth for his third save in four

chances.

Hudson (1-1) gave up three hits through the

first six innings and — thanks to a pair of double plays — faced the

minimum 18 batters.

“It’s disappointing. I felt like

we played a pretty good game. Obviously they had a guy over there who

was throwing the ball pretty well, too,” Hudson said. “He made some

pitches. They had some breaks with some of their defensive alignments

with some guys on base. The ball was bouncing their way. Not a whole lot

else you can say about it.”

Hudson made just his

third start after recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disk in

his back last November.

“I was making some pretty

good pitches. Best I’ve felt so far this year,” he

said

“My sinker felt really good. It was coming out

good, it had some life to it. My other stuff, I felt like it was as good

as it’s been in a while. Through this whole process it’s been gradually

getting a little better.”

David DeJesus hit a

leadoff single in the seventh, and Tony Campana bunted him to second and

he reached third on Starlin Castro’s grounder to first. Bryan LaHair

then hit a hard grounder under shortstop Jack Wilson’s glove to give the

Cubs the lead.

“LaHair did a good job hitting that

sinker the other way with a little shift played on him,” Hudson said.

“He just played pepper with the shortstop, and that’s the

ballgame.”

Prado doubled and reached third in the

sixth and after Uggla walked with two outs, Chipper Jones lined out to

second baseman Darwin Barney, who was positioned behind the bag at

second in a defensive shift. Otherwise, it would have been a run-scoring

single.

“Chipper almost hit me in the forehead and

Barney caught it,” Maholm said. “It’s scary and then it’s very

good.”

The defensive shifts are something Cubs

manager Dale Sveum favors, saying that third base coach Pat Listach

studies all the opposing hitters and their tendencies, allowing the Cubs

to move defenders around by playing the percentages on which direction

the ball likely will go when it comes off the

bat.

“The shift won them the game today,” Jones said.

“You live with it, you’re gonna die by it. It’s just unfortunate today

we couldn’t really get anything going, and when we did, we hit a bullet

right at somebody.”

NOTES:

Atlanta’s Jones, who is retiring at the end of the season, was presented

with a Braves flag before the game by Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster. …

LaHair has reached base in 27 straight games dating to April 8. He also

singled in the second.