Hudson Shuts Down Rockies
* in his first plate appearance in tonight's Giants-Padres game. This is a very sad day for baseball as one of the most respected records in all of professional sports has been tied by a cheater and detriment to the game of baseball. I think all true fans of the game can agree that no matter what happens, until Alex Rodriguez or someone else breaks Hammerin' Hank's record, 755 will be the true mark.
With the Mets and Phillies having already lost, Tim Hudson picked up a much needed win to move the Braves closer in the standings. With the 6-4 win over Colorado, the Braves moved to 4.5 back of the Mets and leap-frogged the Phillies and Colorado in the wild card chase to move to 1.5 of the Dodgers. Tim Hudson was terrific tonight against the surging Rockies. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing only five hits and two walks, while striking out seven and lowering his ERA below three. Hudson got into some trouble throughout the game but was helped out by his nine ground ball outs, including three double-plays. Octavio Dotel came in, in relief of Hudson and after dominating in his first two performances as a Brave, got knocked around quite a bit tonight. Dotel allowed four runs --three earned-- in just a third of an inning. Dotel allowed a leadoff double to Yorvit Torrealba, then after a strikeout of Chris Iannetta, a throwing error by Yunel Escobar and a walk to Kaz Matsui loaded the bases. One swing by Garret Atkins unloaded the bases and cut the Braves lead to only two runs. I think a lot of his problems tonight were caused by not only a lack of command, but some very questionable pitch calling by Brian McCann. When Dotel is completely overmatching Torrealba with his fasball, I just don't understand why McCann would call for a slider. The inning was full of those moments for me. Anyway, Soriano looked much better than his last performance, easily retiring the final two outs in the inning, before Bob Wickman came in for the ninth. As has been the case all year, the big man was excellent at home. His only hiccup was a ball that hit Troy Tulowitzki on the knee, but with some added zip to his fastball, Wickman pitched through a fairly easy inning with two strikeouts to earn his 18th save.
The offense was good enough tonight against an overpowering but wild starter. Both sides of Jimenez showed as he racked up seven strikeouts and five walks in his 4.2 innings of work. The guys at the top and bottom did most of the damage with the middle of the order having a pretty quiet night. The top got the scoring quickly. Willie Harris tripled and was knocked in on a Kelly Johnson single. Johnson also added a double, two walks, and two stolen bases in the game. Matt Diaz connected for his seventh long ball of the season in the second and the big push came in the fifth. With two outs, Tim Hudson hit a bases loaded single that chased home two and would be Ubaldo Jimenez's last pitch. Willie Harris, the very next batter brought home the Braves' sixth run with a single.
A good win at a time where one was really needed. The Braves have a good match up tomorrow with Chuck James facing down against Aaron Cook at 1:05 ET on TBS. If the Braves could pick up the series win going into their two series against the Phillies and Mets coming up, it could be huge. Andruw will be sitting out tomorrow it looks like, mostly just to make sure he is healthy going into that very important week of games.
In some bad news, Barry Bonds homered