Hudson picks up 14th win in Atlanta’ 6-3 win over San Francisco
ATLANTA (AP)—Tim Hudson was called for a couple of balks—nearly doubling his career total— and took a hard-hit liner off the leg.
Otherwise, just another typical night for the Atlanta Braves’ ace.
Hudson won his eighth in a row despite giving up Barry Bonds’ 759th homer and getting called for the first two balks of his NL career, pitching eight strong innings to lead the Braves past the San Francisco Giants 6-3 Wednesday night.
“He gives us a chance to win every time he’s out there,” Chipper Jones said. “That’s all you can ask for.”
One night after setting a record for most ejections, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox got tossed for the 133rd time by first base umpire Angel Hernandez for disputing the initial balk in the third—the first such call against Hudson in three years with the Braves.
Hudson (14-5), whose last balk came in 2004 when pitching for Oakland, had to be restrained by teammate Mark Teixeira when Hernandez called another in the fifth.
“I’m not sure what I did. I think he said I flinched my leg,” said Hudson, who had only three balks in his eight-year career before Wednesday. “It’s hard to swallow. What I did tonight is what I’ve done all year. I don’t know. I guess his eyes are better than all the other umps in baseball.”
The last-place Giants had their own problems. Ryan Klesko was tossed in the fourth by plate umpire Mark Carlson after getting called out on strikes.
Klesko had reached the dugout when Carlson gave him the heave-ho, prompting the Giants’ burly first baseman to charge back on the field. Two coaches kept him from getting at the ump, and Klesko was finally dragged into the dugout by Bonds.
“He’s not as strong as I am,” Bonds said, chuckling. “Not even close.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was thrown out the next inning, also for griping about the strike zone.
“Enough is enough,” Bochy said. “We’re all frustrated.”
Bonds went deep on the first pitch of the sixth, driving it over the center-field wall to snap Hudson’s streak of 66 innings without giving up a homer. A week after breaking Hank Aaron’s record, the new home run king extended it just across the street from where the Hammer hit No. 715 in 1974 to pass Babe Ruth.
A parking lot now occupies the spot of Aaron’s landmark homer. Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was torn down after the ’96 season, and the Braves moved next door to Turner Field.
Bonds was 1-of-4, stymied in his other three at-bats by the Braves’ shift. He hit grounders toward what is normally the hole between first and second, but the Braves had second baseman Kelly Johnson playing in short right.
He fielded all three and threw out Bonds.
“If they hadn’t had the shift on, I’d be 4-for-4,” Bonds said. “I hit balls good. Nothing you can do about it.”
San Francisco starter Russ Ortiz (2-3) hit a grounder off Hudson’s right calf in the third. But Hudson shook it off, just as he shook off a mediocre 2006 season to recapture the form that made him one of the AL’s most dominant pitchers before he was traded to Atlanta.
Hudson hasn’t lost since June 19 and has lasted at least six innings in all but one of his 10 starts during the winning streak. He might have gotten tossed in this one if not for quick thinking by Teixeira, who stepped in when he saw the pitcher making a move toward Hernandez after the second balk.
“I lost it a little bit,” Hudson said. “But I realized the game was more important than trying to prove a point. I put it behind me.”
He also had a good night at the plate. Hudson went 2-for-3, including a run-scoring single in the second that gave the Braves a 2-0 lead.
Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his 20th save in 26 chances, though it wasn’t easy. He gave up a walk and a hit before pinch hitter Benjie Molina hit one toward the seats in center. Andruw Jones hauled it in against the wall.
Bonds cleared the wall in virtually the same place, tying the game at 2 in the sixth. But the Braves surged back in front with four runs in the bottom half, matching a four-run sixth they had in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Giants.
Ortiz was lifted after walking Teixeira and hitting Brian McCann. Jeff Francoeur followed with a single off Scott Atchison, who then threw a wild pitch to bring home the go-ahead run. Andruw Jones, struggling and hurting, followed with a two-run double into the left-field corner.
Hudson leads Braves pitchers with seven RBIs. He also had his second multi-hit game of the season. … Ortiz pitched for the Braves in 2003-04. He was a 21-game winner his first season in Atlanta. … The Giants had one hit off Hudson in each of the first six innings.