Boston (44-25) at Atlanta (38-33)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Tue Jun 19, 2007
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After battering one star pitcher in Monday’s series opener, the Atlanta Braves’ offense won’t get any sort of break.

Red Sox ace Josh Beckett will be looking to bounce back from his first loss of the season as he faces Tim Hudson and the Braves on Tuesday at Turner Field.

Atlanta pounded Curt Schilling for six runs and 10 hits in just 4 1-3 innings in Monday’s 9-4 win. Schilling also failed to record a strikeout for the first time in a start since July 1, 1993.

“He wasn’t throwing 92, 93 (mph) like he normally does,” said Braves catcher Brain McCann, who homered off Schilling. “He was throwing a lot more splits and curves and cutters than the scouting report says.”

The Braves (38-33) are hoping their bats stay hot against Beckett (9-1, 3.39 ERA). He was off to the best start for a Red Sox pitcher since Roger Clemens opened a club-record 14-0 in 1986, but was reached for season highs of six runs and 10 hits in five innings of Thursday’s 7-1 loss to Colorado.

“It was a fun run,” he said. “There’s no way I take all the credit. If you’re not striking everybody out, you need those eight guys behind you.”

Beckett has won just two of his last five starts since May 13 and owns a 4.75 ERA over that span, which included a stint on the disabled list with torn skin on his right middle finger. However, he can join Los Angeles’ John Lackey as the only 10-game winners with a victory.

The right-hander, who spent his first five seasons with the Florida Marlins, is 5-7 in 14 career starts against the Braves, but has won his last three decisions and owns a solid 2.62 ERA against them. He also has a 1.88 ERA in six starts at Turner Field despite a 2-3 record there.

Boston (44-25) also draws a tough starter in Hudson (6-4, 3.25), who has lost five consecutive starts to the Red Sox since defeating them while pitching for the Oakland A’s on Aug. 11, 2003.

Hudson was tagged for six runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-3 loss in Boston on May 20. Overall, he is 3-8 with a 6.22 ERA in 11 career starts against Boston— his most losses against any opponent.

The right-hander threw 7 1-3 scoreless innings on Thursday but was denied a victory as Minnesota scored three runs in the ninth inning to post a 3-2 win. Still, it was an encouraging outing for Hudson, who had allowed at least five runs in four of his last five starts, boosting his ERA nearly two runs.

“That’s the second time this year he’s had no-hitter stuff and got the loss,” McCann said. “Tonight was just what he does. He’s a great pitcher.”

Hudson was taken out of the game after just 84 pitches as a precaution because of a knot behind his neck, but is pitching on regular rest.

McCann, who was coming off a 3-for-22 road trip, drove in four runs Monday for the Braves, who won for the third time in four games but remained 1 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.

Chipper Jones returned to third base after returning from the disabled list with a hand injury and spending five games as a designated hitter while the Braves played in Cleveland and Minnesota. He went 3-for-5 with two runs.

Coco Crisp homered twice and J.D. Drew also connected for the Red Sox, who were coming off a three-game sweep of San Francisco. With a left-handed starter and no designated hitter in the NL park, slugger David Ortiz was limited to a pinch-hitting role.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Beckett LAD vs. T. Hudson SF
20-7 Record 16-10
3.27 ERA 3.33
194 K 132
40 BB 53
1.14 WHIP 1.22

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Jun 19