Braves' power helps Hudson end drought
Atlanta homers thrice as righty earns first win since May 5
PHILADELPHIA -- After providing Tim Hudson limited run support over the past few weeks, the Braves gave the veteran pitcher all that he needed to comfortably cruise toward his first win in more than two months.
Brian McCann notched his 10th career four-hit performance and Dan Uggla hit one of the three home runs that allowed Hudson to guide the Braves to a 13-4 win over the Phillies on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
"It was a great night for everybody," Hudson said. "It's not usually that easy against these guys. These guys can be really tough at times. It makes my job a lot easier when we're able to put up some crooked runs."
There was no reason for Hudson to worry about the lack of run support he had received while going 0-6 with a 4.50 ERA in his previous 10 starts. On the way to snapping a three-game losing streak, the Braves recorded season highs in both runs and hits (19). They had set a new season-high in hits with 16 in Tuesday's win over the Marlins.
McCann's first-four-hit game since Sept. 8 came on the two-month anniversary of his return from offseason shoulder surgery. He has seen his batting average spike from .233 to .293 as he has hit .571 with a 1.600 OPS in his past seven games.
Andrelton Simmons got the Braves rolling in the first with his second career leadoff home run, and Uggla added to Kyle Kendrick's struggles when he hit his two-run shot over the left-field wall in the second inning. The early advantage proved to be enough for Hudson, who allowed one run in seven innings and earned his first win since May 5.
Hudson retired the final 11 batters he faced and was in command throughout most of the night. The lone run he surrendered came courtesy of the three consecutive two-out singles the Phillies recorded in the third inning.
"I felt pretty good," Hudson said. "It's always nice when you can get some runs early. You can be more aggressive in the zone. Guys came up swinging and had some really good at-bats. I was able to wiggle out of some jams and limit them to one run."
While Hudson had himself to blame for some of the struggles he experienced in May, he remained winless despite surrendering two runs or fewer in four of the starts he made last month. This came as a result of him receiving the lowest average run support (1.56 runs per game) of any Major League pitcher in June.
"There have been times when I've (struggled) during those (10) games and I didn't deserve a win," Hudson said. "And there were some times when I just came across some tough luck. Tonight was a night when everything came together. It's nice to finally get on the board in the right column."
Hudson, who turns 38 next month, downplayed the significance of the Braves pushing this start back one day to allow him a chance to rest his neck, which has been cranky over the past month.
"Extra days, I don't know if they help me or not," Hudson said. "I'm old. For me to feel a difference it might need to be two weeks."
McCann highlighted his performance with a leadoff double in the two-run fifth inning that was capped when Hudson aided his own cause with an RBI single that bounced past third baseman Michael Young and went into left field.
With home runs in both of the first two games of this series, Uggla has gained the team lead with 16. He has totaled 11 of those homers since Justin Upton hit 12 in April.
While Upton has struggled over the past two months, he has provided some encouragement over the course of the last few weeks. His two-out RBI single in the fourth inning against Kendrick gave him six hits in his past 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He had gone 7-for-46 in these situations before this recent stretch.
Jason Heyward added to the power barrage with a three-run home run in the seventh inning against left-hander Joe Savery. This marked the 17th time the Braves have hit at least three home runs in a game. That stands as their highest total in a season since they did so 29 times during the 2006 season.
Kendrick set the tone for the evening as he allowed six earned runs and 12 hits in five innings. The Phillies' right-hander had allowed three earned runs or fewer in 12 of his previous 13 career starts against the Braves.
"They were being more aggressive and I was not making quality pitches," Kendrick said. "That's what happens."