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Braves vs. Nationals: Tim Hudson Dominates In 5-2 Victory

The first game of the series was a bit hairy, but the Braves got back to basics in the final two matchups, which included a 5-2 victory on Thursday night.

Tim Hudson rebounded nicely after struggling in New York and allowed just one run over six innings of work. The Nationals came up with just five hits and two walks off Atlanta's ace. Hudson struck out five. He could have pitched deeper into the game, but Fredi Gonzalez pulled him after 86 pitches for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning.

With a huge showdown against Philadelphia scheduled for Hudson's next start, the manager may have been choosing to keep the veteran starter fresh for his next start. That is pure speculation on my part, but it's likely the idea crossed Gonzalez's mind.

Brian McCann hit a monster home run in the first inning off Chien-Ming Wang to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. Chipper Jones continued to be the team's hottest hitter in the second inning with a solo-homer of his own. Eric Hinske, who was filling in for Freddie Freeman, drove in Dan Uggla with a single in the fourth inning.

With the Nationals trailing 4-1 in the eighth, the team took advantage of a wild Jonny Venters. With the bases loaded after a single and two walks, Michael Morse drove in a run after Chipper Jones failed to glove a ball in the hole. Fortunately for the Braves, Venters quickly found command of his sinker and slider and promptly struck Jesus Flores and Danny Espinosa to end the threat.

Jason Heyward tripled in the eighth and Alex Gonzalez drove him in with a sac-fly to give Atlanta a 5-2 lead. Craig Kimbrel came in and recorded his 42nd save of the season as he continues to set the rookie record for saves in a season.

With the series wrapped up, the Braves will welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to Turner Field for a three-game series. Brandon Beachy will face Chad Billingsley in game one.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.