Braves-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves' longest winning streak over the Philadelphia Phillies in 15 years came to an end in the middle game of their series at Citizens Bank Park.

The Braves seem to have a good shot of bouncing back in the finale.

Tim Hudson looks to win his fifth straight start and beat the Phillies for the third time in barely a month Wednesday night.

After reeling off seven consecutive victories over Philadelphia - its longest winning streak in the series since an eight-game run in 1997 - Atlanta had its bats silenced by Cole Hamels on Tuesday. The left-hander tossed a five-hitter for his fifth career shutout in handing the Braves a 3-0 loss.

It was just the third defeat in 14 games overall for Atlanta, which is still chasing Washington in the NL East but leading the wild-card race.

Since July 5, the Braves (63-47) have the majors' second-best record at 21-8, and they've enjoyed even greater success lately behind Hudson (11-4, 3.45 ERA), winning eight of his last nine starts.

Against Houston on Friday, Hudson earned his 100th win with Atlanta, yielding four hits and an unearned run over 7 1-3 innings of a 4-1 victory.

"Every time he pitches, we expect that from him," teammate Martin Prado said.

He's nearly been living up to that standard, posting a 2.30 ERA in winning his last four starts and a 1.26 mark while winning his last five on the road.

The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.58 ERA in his last six starts overall - a run that began in Philadelphia on July 6, when he gave up four hits in seven innings of a 5-0 win. On July 29, Hudson allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings during a 6-2 home victory over the Phillies.

He's gone 5-1 with a 3.08 ERA in his last eight starts in the series.

Since 2009, Jimmy Rollins is 1 for 23 against Hudson while Chase Utley is 4 for 23. Ryan Howard has found some recent success in the matchup, going 9 for 27 with three homers and two doubles over the last four seasons.

Howard belted a two-run homer as part of a three-run first inning Tuesday as the Phillies won for the third time in four games.

They may be able to stay hot given Kyle Kendrick's track record against Atlanta.

Kendrick (4-9, 4.45) is 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 11 career starts in the series, including a 0.95 mark in the last six.

The right-hander got the call to start Friday against Arizona after Joe Blanton was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers 2 1/2 hours before the game. He did a decent job given the circumstances, permitting three runs - two earned - and five hits without a walk in four innings of a 4-2 loss.

It was his first start since facing the Braves on July 6, when he matched Hudson with seven scoreless innings before Philadelphia's bullpen faltered. Kendrick threw eight shutout innings over seven relief appearances between starts.

"I got in a groove, but it's good to be starting again," he said. "I have to go out there and pitch good."

He may want to be wary of Prado, who is 7 for 15 with a homer in their matchups. Chipper Jones is 8 for 24 with three doubles and two homers versus Kendrick, but just 2 for 12 over the last four seasons.

Jones has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games, batting .345 with seven doubles and 14 RBIs in that stretch. He's hitting .400 in seven games against the Phillies this season.

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