After a rough loss last night, the Braves came back well this afternoon both offensively and on the mound. Tim Hudson threw seven shutout innings and the Braves offense put eight runs across to officially give the Braves the best record in the National League.
Hudson looked great in his seven innings, allowing just five base runners and striking out four. He walked just one batter, which was great to see given his high walk total in comparison to his career average. Michael Dunn had trouble finding the zone and recorded just one out while walking three, but Peter Moylan got out of the jam by inducing a double play. Moylan finished off the game with a perfect ninth inning, capping off the shutout.
Alex Gonzalez and Melky Cabrera reached base four times a piece. Gonzalez had four hits, including a double, and two RBI. Cabrera hit two doubles and walked twice while scoring two runs. Jason Heyward added two hits and two RBI. Chipper Jones had a good day as well as he hit three singles with one resulting in an RBI.
Clayton Richard, on paper, should have given the Braves the most problems of any starter in the series. He didn't perform well and the Braves were able to get nine hits off of him in six innings. Ryan Webb put together another bad outing, just as he did in the series opener.
Despite Hudson's great performance, the Braves offense was what I liked most about today. They were able to score eight runs without the virtue of a long ball and every Braves starter reached base at least once. Martin Prado was the only starter not to get a hit, but he lead the bottom of the first off with a walk. Although it is in limited time, Alex Gonzalez has been very good for the Braves. He currently has a line of .370/.433/.519, substantially better than what they were getting from Yunel Escobar.
Up next is Derek Lowe (10-8, 4.39 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 4.07 xFIP) vs. Alejandro Sanabia (1-1, 2.12 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 3.86 xFIP) of the Florida Marlins. The Phillies are currently locked in a 0-0 tie and if they lose they will be eight games behind the Braves. The Mets play the Dodgers at 10:10, so we can all see where the Braves division lead stands later tonight.