Atlanta (2-1) at San Francisco (3-0)

Fair Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 4:35 pm EDT Fri Apr 9, 2010
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Tim Hudson(notes) is looking forward to enjoying an injury-free season for the Atlanta Braves after missing most of 2009 following Tommy John surgery.

After Atlanta’s last game, there was less optimism coming from Chipper Jones(notes), who may miss the upcoming weekend series after straining his right oblique.

On Friday, Hudson and the Braves open a three-game road set against the unbeaten San Francisco Giants.

Atlanta (2-1) may not have Jones available to start the weekend after he strained his oblique in a 2-0 loss to the Cubs on Thursday. Jones believes he suffered the injury during batting practice, but played until leaving in the third inning.

He said it’s possible he could miss this three-game series.

The injury is disappointing news for Atlanta, which is counting on Jones to bounce back after hitting .264 last season, down from his .364 average in 2008. He homered in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Chicago.

Jones is not the only member of the Braves trying to rebound this season. Hudson takes the mound after going 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA in seven September starts in 2009.

“I fee like I had better stuff than I had before surgery,” Hudson told the Braves’ official Web site following a spring start. “It almost feels like I’m going out there and opening up a new present.”

Hudson, who is 4-4 with a 4.03 ERA against the Giants but hasn’t faced them since 2007, will have little room for error against a San Francisco team that completed a three-game sweep of Houston with a 10-4 victory Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t opened a season with four straight wins since 2003 when they won their first seven en route to 100 victories. Edgar Renteria(notes) went 5-for-5 and Aaron Rowand(notes) had four of San Francisco’s 19 hits.

“With the way these guys were swinging in spring it gives us a bunch of confidence out there on the mound that if we give up a couple of runs like we did out there today … those guys can come right back to pick us up,” said starter Matt Cain(notes), who gave up three earned runs in 6 2-3 innings. “That builds a lot of confidence for the starters and the relievers and I think it builds confidence for those guys as well.”

Jonathan Sanchez(notes) will try to give the Giants a fourth straight strong outing from a starting pitcher after Tim Lincecum(notes), Barry Zito(notes) and Cain combined to limit the Astros to three earned runs and 13 hits in 19 2-3 innings.

Cain said the added pressure by the previous starter can only help Sanchez.

“You don’t want to be the guy in the rotation who has a bad start,” he told San Francisco’s official Web site. “You try to lock it in early and get some quick outs.”

Sanchez went 8-12 with a 4.24 ERA last season, failing to complete six innings in each of his last five starts.

The left-hander will try to stifle an Atlanta team that failed to score Thursday despite eight hits, including three by Martin Prado(notes). Rookie Jason Heyward(notes), who was 3 for 8 with a home run and five RBIs in his first two games, went 0 for 4.

The Braves have lost four straight and seven of eight at San Francisco.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Hudson SF vs. J. Sanchez ChC
17-9 Record 13-9
2.83 ERA 3.07
139 K 205
74 BB 96
1.15 WHIP 1.23


Friday, Apr 9