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Hudson quiets Giants as Braves earn series split

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Hudson is quietly having another solid season for the Atlanta Braves. It's been just the opposite for San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum, who has not pitched at all like a two-time Cy Young Award winner.

Hudson pitched seven strong innings, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 7-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday night.

The teams split the four-game series at AT&T Park, with Atlanta winning the last two.

Hudson (13-4) scattered five hits and one walk while allowing one run. He struck out five. He has won his last seven decisions, and the Braves are 9-1 in his 10 starts since July 6.

"Anytime you lose the first two games coming into a four-game series it's really tough to come out with a split," Hudson said. "But we were fortunate to come out here, get a couple of runs early, I was able to throw strikes and make those guys put it in play. It was definitely a day where you needed to go out and pound the strike zone."

Paul Janish hit a two-run triple in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach at 5-0. Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning to cap the scoring.

"Huddy's our ace," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "He's a guy that we feel very confident with him on the mound, and we feel in big games he's even better. We expect him to do stuff like that because he's that good."

It was the Braves' night from the start.

In the top of the first, Lincecum issued a leadoff walk to Michael Bourn. With one out, Heyward singled Bourn to third, then stole second base. Freeman walked to load the bases.

Martin Prado's slow grounder to third scored Bourn, and McCann singled to right-center, bringing home Heyward for a 2-0 Braves lead.

"When two runs or a run does score, you end up blaming yourself," Lincecum said. "Just going back to the chalkboard of what did I do in that inning to make it better. I was just getting behind on batters, 2-0 on anybody and wasn't really attacking the (strike) zone in that first inning, which is what led to those runs."

In the top of the fourth, Juan Francisco, playing at third base for Chipper Jones (sore oblique and back), blasted a Lincecum fastball deep to center field, nearly halfway up the bleachers, to give Atlanta a three-run cushion.

Lincecum labored through five innings, allowing five hits and three runs. He was removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth, and Jose Mijares and George Kontos gave up two runs in the sixth.

After a leadoff walk to Prado and a single by McCann, both off Mijares, Janish greeted Kontos with a triple to left-center.

The Giants squandered an opportunity with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning, scoring their only run on a Brandon Crawford sacrifice fly.

"(Hudson) was spotting up all his pitches and keeping us off-balance and painting his fastball on both sides of the plate," Crawford said. "We got a couple of hits, got the bases loaded and we got a sac fly, but that's all we could get. It was like that all night. He was tough."

NOTES: Although the Braves are 3-5 in their last eight road games, they maintain the second-best road record in the majors at 37-26 (.587). ...

Jones made his final regular-season appearance in San Francisco, pinch-hitting for Hudson in the top of the eighth. He grounded out to shortstop. ... The outing was Hudson's 400th appearance. He is at 399 career starts. ... The Giants are 9-18 in games started by Lincecum. ... Lincecum tied his career high for losses in a single season. He has pitched six or more innings 12 times in 27 starts. ... Eli Whiteside was recalled from Triple-A Fresno, giving the Giants an extra catcher with Buster Posey nursing a hamstring injury. Right-hander Eric Hacker, 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in four games (one start), was optioned to Fresno. ... San Francisco right-handed reliever Guillermo Mota will be eligible to be reinstated Tuesday after serving his 100-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy. "Probably more than anything, this is going to be a baseball decision," said manager Bruce Bochy, who has lost two players this year to drug suspensions, including outfielder Melky Cabrera.

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