Nationals-Braves Preview

The Associated Press

Tim Hudson hasn't won since beating the Washington Nationals earlier this month.

Doing it again would only continue the Atlanta Braves' recent dominance of their NL East rival Tuesday night at Turner Field.

Hudson (2-1, 4.50 ERA) is 0-1 while surrendering nine runs and 15 hits - three homers - in 10 innings over his last two starts. That's been in stark contrast to his 1.32 ERA while winning his previous two games, including a 3-1 victory at Washington on April 13.

He outpitched Stephen Strasburg while holding the Nationals to one run and four hits in seven innings.

Hudson, though, lost both of his home starts against them last year with an 8.53 ERA. That includes an 8-4 defeat July 1, when he allowed six runs in six innings opposite Gio Gonzalez - also scheduled to start Tuesday - for the Braves' most recent home loss to the Nationals.

Since then, Washington has lost four straight in Atlanta, getting held to eight runs. The Braves' overall winning streak over the Nationals has reached eight games - the longest by either team in the all-time series.

Atlanta (16-9) kept that run going in the opener of this four-game set Monday, winning 3-2 after Andrelton Simmons' sacrifice fly in the seventh inning scored Gerald Laird for the decisive run. Laird reached on a walk, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt before eventually scoring in a rare sequence of small ball from the Braves, who lead the majors with 36 homers.

"We battled and did the little things right," said Simmons, the second-year shortstop. "We got the bunt down. We got the sacrifice fly to get the run in."

Washington (13-13) had 10 hits Monday, but the team is batting .207 with 14 runs over the last eight meetings with the Braves.

Gonzalez (2-1, 4.50) is 2-3 with a 6.08 ERA in five career starts against Atlanta, and they've all come since being acquired in a trade with Oakland prior to last season. Those defeats are the most he's suffered against any opponent in that span.

The left-hander's latest meeting with the Braves on April 14 marked the most runs he's allowed in a Washington uniform. The seven earned runs he surrendered were his most since 2010, giving up homers to Simmons and Justin Upton before getting pulled after five innings of a 9-0 loss.

Gonzalez, though, is coming off his best outing of the season, yielding a solo homer and no other hits in eight innings of Thursday's 8-1 victory over Cincinnati.

"His ball moves a heck of a lot, and it's hard to sit on, but it's a lot easier to sit on if you see a lot of pitches in every at-bat," manager Davey Johnson told the team's official website.

Jayson Werth is 7 for 21 over the past six games, but it's unclear if he'll play after fouling a ball off his left foot in the eighth inning Tuesday. He completed the at-bat - a strikeout - before being replaced in right field by Roger Bernadina.

Werth is a .385 hitter with four doubles and three homers off Hudson, and his 15 hits are a career high against any pitcher.

Bryce Harper hasn't been as effective, going 3 for 12 versus Hudson, and he's 2 for 14 with one homer in four meetings with the Braves this year.

He has one more chance to take sole possession of the franchise record for homers in April, sitting on nine to remain tied with Henry Rodriguez's mark from 1996.

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