Braves 11, Nationals 2

BY foxsports • April 3, 2011

Tim Hudson had a dominating pitching performance in the Atlanta Braves' 11-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.

And he was more pleased with his baserunning on Sunday.

Hudson pitched seven solid innings and Brian McCann had four RBIs to help Atlanta take two of three in the season-opening series. For Hudson, however, the best part of the game came in the top of the fifth, when he scored by sliding headfirst into home while wearing a warmup jacket.

''It gave me some padding for landing,'' said Hudson, who came out of the slide with a minor abrasion on his knee. ''This is the first time I've had a strawberry in a long time. A little battle wound.''

The right-hander got it done on the mound, too. He allowed one run and three hits, struck out five and walked one while improving to 11-2 with a 1.88 ERA against the Nationals' franchise.

Just about everyone in the Braves' lineup had a big day. Martin Prado had three hits, including two doubles, and an RBI after opening the season 0 for 9.

''(Saturday) he went 0 for 5 with five bullets, and today probably the softest ball he hit went for a base hit,'' Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Prado. ''That's how this game makes you want to jump off a cliff sometimes.''

Atlanta put the game away with six runs in the eighth inning. The first run came home when Brian Broderick, making his major league debut, balked with the bases loaded. Five players drove in runs, including Jason Heyward, who had two singles in the inning.

Hudson didn't allow a baserunner after Danny Espinosa singled to lead off the second. The next batter, Ivan Rodriguez, grounded into a double play, and Hudson also retired the next 16 batters.

''He was awesome today. His sinker was darting,'' McCann said. ''Right when he got the double play with Pudge, that pitch really locked him in for the rest of the game.''

Jordan Zimmermann (0-1) pitched six innings for Washington and was charged with three runs, two earned, and four hits.

Atlanta pushed across two runs in the fifth - helped by Hudson's baserunning - to go in front for good.

''It had the feel of a five- or six-run deficit instead of a two-run deficit because we weren't playing good baseball,'' Washington manager Jim Riggleman said.

Alex Gonzalez led off with a triple after his fly ball to right-center fell between outfielders Rick Ankiel and Jayson Werth, and he scored on a groundout by Freddie Freeman.

Hudson, who walked, went to third on Prado's double and scored on the play when Espinosa dropped the relay throw for an error. Hudson briefly stopped after rounding third, then dashed home and finished with the headfirst slide.

''Play of the year,'' McCann said. ''If there's a play that tops that - I don't know if there will be all season long for us. That was awesome. He's been wanting to do that for 10 years now.''

Atlanta was helped by couple of Washington miscues to score its first run. The Nationals barely missed one double play when Nate McLouth beat a throw to first, and second baseman Espinosa bobbled another possible double-play ball hit by Chipper Jones, only getting Jones out at first. The Braves took advantage of the reprieve as McCann singled home McLouth.

Washington tied it in the bottom of the first on Adam LaRoche's single to right. Werth got tangled up with Jones in the basepath before being thrown out at the plate, but the run was awarded due to Jones' obstruction.

''It was just a flukey thing,'' Jones said. ''It's never happened to me before.''

Atlanta added two in the seventh on McCann's bases-loaded single.

NOTES: Atlanta put RHP Jair Jurrjens on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle, retroactive to March 25. The Braves recalled LHP Mike Minor from Triple-A Gwinnett, and he is expected to start Wednesday's game at Milwaukee. ... Matt Young made his major league debut as a pinch runner for Jones in the eighth and remained in the game as the left fielder. ... Nationals leadoff hitter Ian Desmond is 0 for 13 to start the season. Braves 2B Dan Uggla robbed him of a hit with an over-the-shoulder diving catch in the sixth inning.

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