Braves 6, Nationals 2

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WASHINGTON (AP)—There are plenty of wrinkled foreheads when someone like Jason Bergmann flirts with a no-hitter.

When Tim Hudson throws a gem—and another Washington Nationals pitcher gets injured—that’s a sign of order restored to the pitching universe.

Hudson was perfect through 4 2-3 innings and allowed three hits over seven innings Tuesday night as the Atlanta Braves ended the Washington Nationals’ four-game winning streak with a 6-2 victory.

“Huddy was just completely outstanding once again,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “We were thinking no-no—just like last night with the Nationals thinking no-no. He’s pitched that way the entire season.”

Edgar Renteria hit two home runs to help the Braves snap a two-game losing streak. Atlanta has won six of its last eight.

Bergmann took an unlikely no-hitter into the eighth inning Monday night for the Nationals. He earned his first major league win, beating ace John Smoltz.

Smoltz and Hudson, however, are tough to beat back-to-back, especially when Hudson is getting ground ball after ground ball.

Hudson retired 11 of the first 14 batters on grounders and didn’t allow a baserunner until walking Brian Schneider with two outs in the fifth, his only walk. He struck out four before leaving for a pinch hitter in the eighth. He has pitched at least six innings in every start this season and has yet to allow more than three runs. His ERA is 1.77.

“I had a really good sinker,” Hudson said. “It was one of those things where I was just going to throw that until they showed me they could handle it.”

The Braves punished Nationals starter Jerome Williams (0-5), who failed again to get his first win since 2005. Renteria’s home runs were his fifth and sixth of the season—he also had a two-homer game on opening day—and the Braves had more consecutive hits in the third inning (4) than they did in the entire game against Washington on Monday (3).

Williams had to be activated from the disabled list before the game so he could make the start, a move that looked like a bad idea within minutes. His 1-2 pitch over fat part of the plate to Renteria was deposited for a two-run homer in the first, and he failed to retire any of the four batters he faced in the third.

Williams then called for the trainer, saying he felt something funny in his throwing shoulder when delivering his last slider. He was removed from the game and diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff. Williams had been put on the 15-day disabled list after spraining his left ankle while swinging during an at-bat in his last start on April 28. Now he’s likely headed to the DL again.

“I don’t know what in the world’s going on right now,” Williams said. “I pitch fine. I go up on the DL, then came off of that—and now this.”

Williams said he thought he was pitching well before he got hurt, but manager Manny Acta saw things differently.

“Even from the first inning, he didn’t look like he had much,” Acta said. “Just a poor outing.”

Either way, the Nationals will have to find yet another pitcher for a rotation that just keeps on rotating. Shawn Hill went on the DL on Monday, and John Patterson is already there.

“It just gives someone else an opportunity to come pitch at the big-league level,” Acta said. “Somebody else will step in and we’ll move forward.”

Notes

Chad Cordero, usually the Nationals closer, made his first appearance since spending time on the bereavement list to be with his dying grandmother. Cordero pitched the eighth, facing four batters. … Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-4 with four grounders to shortstop, one of which turned into a double play. … Renteria has hit safely in 20 of 21 games. He is batting .344 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in that span.

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