Braves 2, Rockies 0
ATLANTA (AP)—Tim Hudson gave up a hit to the opposing pitcher, which was bad enough.
It stung even more when that turned out to be the only hit of the game by the Colorado Rockies.
Hudson threw the second one-hitter of his career, leading the Atlanta Braves past the Rockies 2-0 with a dominating performance that was marred only by Jason Jennings’ single with two outs in the third inning.
“That’s kind of tough to take,” said Hudson, who also drove in the Braves’ first run. “He’s probably one of the better-hitting pitchers out there, but he’s still a pitcher. He’s only coming up once every five days. It would have been better if it was a cleanup hitter. I could have stomached that one better.”
Not that Hudson (2-2) was complaining too much. Not after the way he started the season, lasting only four innings in each of his first two starts. He gave up 14 hits, walked six and was charged with 11 earned runs in those outings.
Hudson credited first-year pitching coach Roger McDowell with making a slight change in the right-hander’s delivery, which is producing big results. He threw a three-hitter against the New York Mets on April 19, and was even more dominating against the top-hitting team in the NL.
“I’m getting a lot more downward movement instead of side to side. That side-to-side stuff gets hit a long way,” said Hudson, who is throwing with more of an overhand motion. “It’s not rocket science. It was just a little bitty adjustment, but that’s all it took.”
Hudson retired the last 17 Colorado hitters, needing just 40 pitches after the fifth inning. He threw 103 pitches overall—66 for strikes.
“He had a lot of good things going on tonight,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “He worked both sides of the plate. He was never behind in the count.”
Afterward in the Braves’ clubhouse, catcher Brian McCann donned a T-shirt that said “I Rode Bodacious For Nine”—a reference to the wicked movement Hudson can get on his pitches, especially his sinker.
“His ball is so tough to catch,” McCann said.
Responded Hudson, “I hope I’m not too hard to handle. But it’s a good thing, I guess. If my ball is hard to catch, they’ll probably have a hard time hitting it.”
His other one-hitter came nearly six years ago while he was pitching for Oakland. Hudson shut out the Chicago White Sox 3-0 on Aug. 28, 2000.
“Yeah, I remember,” he said. “Frank Thomas got a broken-bat single up the middle for the only hit. It came in the third or fourth inning, just like this one. Nothing dramatic.”
Hudson walked three, struck out five and shut down a team that was leading the NL with a .290 average, though it helped that he didn’t have to face Todd Helton. The slugging first baseman will begin an injury rehab assignment in the minors on Tuesday after being stricken with an intestinal problem.
Second baseman Marcus Giles drove in the Braves’ other run and made several fine defensive plays, the best of them a diving catch on a liner up the middle to end the third. But he was kicking himself for his positioning on Jennings’ hit.
“I wasn’t leaning to my left as much as I’d like to,” Giles said. “As soon as he got that hit, Andruw (Jones) was yelling at me from center, ‘Why aren’t you leaning? Why aren’t you leaning?’ I said, ‘Oh forget about it. Maybe he’ll give up another hit, it’s only the third inning.’ Obviously, he didn’t. It kind of ate at me.”
Jennings (1-2) had a .236 career average coming into the game—an impressive figure for a pitcher. He kept it from being a historic night for Hudson.
“I hit it hard,” Jennings said. “I’ll have to look at it on SportsCenter. I love hitting.”
He also pitched well enough to win, allowing seven hits and both runs in seven innings.
“If I do that, I’ll win 90 percent of my games,” Jennings said. “I was throwing a lot of four-seamers. I had both of my fastballs working.”
The Braves jumped ahead with a two-out rally in the second. McCann singled to right, Ryan Langerhans walked and Hudson dropped an RBI single into center field.
Hudson contributed to the Braves’ other run as well. In the fourth, Langerhans singled with one out and moved to second on the pitcher’s sacrifice bunt. Giles followed with a single to left that drove in Langerhans.
The Rockies couldn’t do anything against Hudson. Their only serious threat came in the fourth, when Matt Holliday and Garrett Atkins drew consecutive walks with one out. Hudson struck out Brad Hawpe and got Jason Smith on a liner to Giles.
“He works quick and throws strikes,” said leadoff hitter Cory Sullivan, who went 0-for-4. “That’s a good combination.”
The game was played in only 2 hours, 7 minutes. … After drawing an average of more than 42,000 a game for a weekend series against the Mets, the Braves announced a turnout of only 19,212 for the opener of a two-game series against Colorado. … Braves SS Edgar Renteria extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying an Atlanta record for hitting safely at the beginning of a season. Renteria, who missed nine games in the middle of his streak with a rib cage injury, equaled Felipe Alou’s mark of 16 straight to start the 1966 season.