The Atlanta Braves finally started hitting Monday.
They’ll look to stay hot at the plate as they continue their three-game series with the Washington Nationals.
The Braves entered Monday’s series opener hitting .216 with 16 runs through their first six games. However, they routed the Nationals 11-2 for their fifth win in six games.
Rafael Furcal was hitting .138 when he hit his first homer in the fifth inning. Andruw Jones had a .217 average when he connected for his first home run later in the inning, and Raul Mondesi, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, was hitting .100 (2-for-20) when he doubled in a run in the fourth.
“The guys came out swinging the bats,” Atlanta starter Mike Hampton said. “They needed a game like that.”
The Nationals, on the other hand, failed to snap out of their offensive funk. Washington has scored five runs in its last four games, getting shut out twice during that span.
The Nationals were held scoreless Monday until Jose Guillen hit a solo shot off Hampton in the seventh inning.
Washington could have a tough time breaking out of its slump against Atlanta’s Tim Hudson. The right-hander, acquired in a December trade after six years in Oakland, allowed one earned run and six hits in five innings of his Braves debut, a 4-2 win over Florida on Thursday.
Hudson improved his career record to 93-39, and his winning percentage of .705 ranks third among starters with at least 100 decisions.
“I know there are expectations,” he said. “People are expecting a certain caliber pitcher when I’m out there. So do I. I expect to go out there and get the job done.”
Hudson also singled home a run and threw 93 pitches in five innings, stranding seven runners and inducing two double-play grounders. He allowed a homer after giving up just eight last season.
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said that he expected second baseman Marcus Giles to return to the lineup Tuesday. Giles came back Friday after suffering a bone bruise in his left knee in Tuesday’s season opener, but fouled a ball off his left foot and has not played since.