NL East Roundup

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Braves manager Bobby Cox is happy with what he's seen from Tim Hudson so far this year -- a lot of the same stuff, over and over again.

Hudson was downright stingy over eight shutout innings and Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer to help Atlanta beat the New York Mets 7-3 on Friday night.

Hudson (3-0) allowed five hits and walked two. He has allowed two runs in 29 innings this season for a microscopic 0.62 ERA.

"Yeah, same as his other starts he's had," Cox said. "Just shutout stuff again. He's been in quite the groove so far this season. What you saw tonight was what he's done in the past starts."

Kelly Johnson also had two hits for the Braves, who moved into first in the NL East by winning the opener of the weekend series between the top two teams in the division.

Hudson retired the first 11 batters and didn't allow a hit until Moises Alou singled to center with one out in the fifth. The Mets loaded the bases with two outs but couldn't score. They also threatened in the eighth but Hudson got Paul Lo Duca to ground into an inning-ending double play.

New York had scored 28 runs in its previous three games but couldn't do anything with Hudson, who said he can't remember ever getting off to a better start.

"There's really not much of a break in that lineup," Hudson said. "They can go up there and really hurt you. I was able to go out there and make some pitches, set a tone early. We got a nice lead early, thanks to Chipper."

The Braves led 4-0 after three innings and scored three unearned runs in the seventh to break it open. Jeff Francoeur and pinch-hitter Craig Wilson walked with the bases loaded and Andruw Jones scored on a wild pitch for the second time in the game.

Hudson allowed a single to Shawn Green after Alou's hit in the fifth. One batter later, pinch-hitter David Newhan walked to load the bases. Jose Reyes then hit a grounder up the middle but Johnson got to it and threw to Edgar Renteria for the forceout at second to end the threat.

"Too much Mr. Hudson tonight," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He was superb. He's been going great all year. Maybe the next time we get him he won't be so good."

Johnson also got the Braves' offense started in the first. He singled to left against Mike Pelfrey and scored when Chipper Jones hit a long home run off the bottom of an advertising sign in right-center. It was his 37th homer in 167 career games against New York and fifth in his past nine games this season.

"It was good to center that one in the first," Jones said. "With a young guy on the mound you give him some success and let him feel comfortable early in the game, they get more and more confidence as the game goes on. It's nice to jump out on top early."

Chipper Jones also walked and scored on Brian McCann's ground-rule double in the third. Andruw Jones went to third on McCann's hit and scored on Pelfrey's wild pitch to make it 4-0.

Pelfrey (0-1) lasted five innings, allowing four runs and six hits. He struck out three, walked two and hit a batter.

"I thought the secondary stuff was OK," Pelfrey said. "The fastball command was kind of off. Facing Chipper Jones in the first inning, the fastball, I left it right in the middle. You don't want to miss with that guy."

Green hit a two-run homer in the Mets' three-run ninth against Rafael Soriano, who got Jose Valentin to fly out to right for the final out.

David Wright went 0-for-3 with a walk for the Mets, snapping his club-record hitting streak at 26 games. Hubie Brooks (1984) and Mike Piazza (1999) share the one-season record of 24 games in a row.

"Way more disappointed in losing the game than the hitting streak," Wright said. "It was fun while it lasted."

The Mets honored Jackie Robinson during a pregame ceremony featuring his widow, Rachel, and his son, David. The team was originally scheduled to pay tribute to Robinson on Sunday -- the 60th anniversary of Robinson breaking major-league baseball's color barrier -- but the Mets game against the Washington Nationals was rained out.

Randolph wore Robinson's No. 42 and three tribute videos were shown on the scoreboard at Shea Stadium. New York also recognized four Negro Leagues players and Ralph Branca, who played with Robinson on the Brooklyn Dodgers, during the ceremony.

Reds 2, Phillies 1 (10 innings)
Scott Hatteberg's two-out solo homer in the ninth tied the game and then Brandon Phillips singled with the bases loaded in the tenth as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1.

Tom Gordon gave up Hatteberg's homer and suffered the loss. It was his first blown save in two chances.

Jon Coutlangus pitched one hitless inning for the victory.

The Phillies drop to an NL-worst 4-11. They're 0-4 in extra inning games this season.

Nationals 6, Marlins 5 (14 innings)
Ryan Church raced home on Chris Snelling's infield single in the top of the 14th inning and the Washington Nationals beat the Florida Marlins 6-5.

First baseman Mike Jacobs got a glove on Snelling's hit, which deflected to second baseman Josh Wood. Wood fired home but Church slid in safely when catcher Matt Treanor couldn't handle the throw.

The Nationals were up 5-0 after five, but the Marlins chipped away at the lead and tied it in the ninth on Cody Ross' pinch homer off closer Chad Cordero.

Jesus Colome worked three scoreless innings for the win and is 2-0. The loss went to Lee Gardner, who is 0-1.

Saul Rivera notched his first save of the season.


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