Hudson, Braves stay hot, beat reeling Astros

ATLANTA (AP) — Martin Prado wasn’t surprised to see

Tim Hudson treating the last-place Houston Astros like a playoff

opponent.

“Every time he pitches, we expect that from

him,” Prado said. “He was so fired up, it was sort of

contagious.”

Hudson gave up only four hits and no

earned runs in 7 1-3 innings to remain unbeaten in his career against

Houston, and the Braves stayed hot with a 4-1 win Friday night that left

the Astros with their worst 32-game stretch in franchise

history.

The Astros are 3-29 in their last 32 games.

Houston’s worst 32-game stretch before the 2012 season was 5-27, most

recently from June 26 to July 29, 1962 as the Colt .45s, according to

STATS LLC.

“It’s not a lot of fun, honestly,” Houston

outfielder Jordan Schafer said. “The reason you play the game is to

win. When you just continue to lose and you lose in different ways, you

lose by 10, you lose by four, you lose by 15, you lose by one, it’s all

the same. It gets tiring and annoying after a while. It’s not a fun

situation to be in.”

The Braves improved to 7-1 on

their 10-game homestand and gained ground in the NL East. Atlanta trails

first-place Washington by 2 games in the division after the Nationals

split a doubleheader with Miami on Friday.

Hudson

(11-4) improved to 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA in seven career starts against

the Astros. He allowed one unearned run, four hits and two walks and has

won five straight decisions.

Hudson, 192-101

overall, earned his 100th win with the Braves. He won 92 games with

Oakland.

The right-hander gave Atlanta’s bullpen a

needed break by throwing a season-high 116

pitches.

“I’m glad I was able to go out there and

pitch into the eighth and get my pitch count up a little bit,” Hudson

said.

Hudson said he was aware some Atlanta relievers

needed a day off.

“Most every game I try to go as

deep as I can anyway,” he said.

Chipper Jones had a

two-run double in Atlanta’s three-run third inning. The 40-year-old

Jones is batting .357 (40-for-112) with 19 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs

since June 19, lifting his average to .315.

“I don’t

think he’s human,” Hudson said of Jones. “He’s a

machine.”

Prado had two doubles, including a

run-scoring hit in the fourth.

Craig Kimbrel struck

out the side in the ninth to earn his 31st

save.

Right-hander Armando Galarraga (0-1) gave up

four runs, five hits and a career-high seven walks in 5 1-3 innings. He

made his second start with Houston following his recall from Triple-A

Oklahoma City on July 28.

Jones’ third-inning double

drove in Prado, who doubled, and Jason Heyward, who walked. Jones scored

when shortstop Marwin Gonzalez lost Dan Uggla’s high popup, which

dropped in shallow left field for a double.

Prado’s

RBI double in the fourth gave Atlanta a 4-0 lead.

The

Astros scored an unearned run off Hudson in the sixth. Ben Francisco

had an infield hit and moved to second on Uggla’s throwing error.

Francisco scored from third on a groundout by J.D.

Martinez.

Tensions rose in the sixth inning as

Galarraga and Prado exchanged stares as each backed away during a long

at-bat. Prado and catcher Carlos Corporan exchanged words, prompting

Michael Bourn, who was on first base following a walk, and first-base

coach Terry Pendleton to take a few steps toward the mound. Umpires

stepped in to prevent an altercation.

“It was a

misunderstanding,” Prado said, adding he “heard something I probably

didn’t understand.”

Galarraga walked Prado on the

next pitch and was pulled from the game.

Jim Joyce,

who had the blown call that prevented Galarraga from recording a perfect

game with the Tigers on June 1, 2010, was the third-base

umpire.

Right-hander Mickey Storey recorded two outs

in his major league debut following his call-up earlier Friday from

Oklahoma City.

Schafer had one hit in his first

return to Atlanta since his July 31, 2011 trade from the

Braves.

Steve Pearce was scratched from Houston’s

original starting lineup due to a stiff neck. Francisco replaced Pearce

in right field.

NOTES: Houston

placed RHP Francisco Cordero on the 15-day DL with an inflamed right big

toe. Cordero, who came to Houston on July 20 in a trade with Toronto,

is 0-3 with a 19.80 ERA and three blown saves in six games with the

Astros. Overall, he has a 7.55 ERA. Manager Brad Mills said RHP Wilton

Lopez has assumed the closer’s role. … RHP Chris Devenski is the

player to be named later in the trade that sent Brett Myers to the White

Sox. Devenski was with Class A Kannapolis this year. … The Astros

acquired RHP Garrett Mock from the Red Sox for future considerations.

Mock will report to Triple-A Oklahoma City. … Braves SS Andrelton

Simmons had the cast removed from his right hand. He is on the 15-day DL

with a broken right little finger and is expected to return in late

August. … LHP Paul Maholm, acquired from the Cubs on Monday night,

will make his first start for the Braves on Saturday night against

Astros RHP Lucas Harrell.