Hudson Takes Mound for Braves

Even in defeat, Atlanta's Tim Hudson still managed to pitch like an ace.

Hudson will look to bounce back from his first loss of 2007 when the Braves wrap up a four-game series with the San Diego Padres on Thursday.

Oddsmakers have made Atlanta -195 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on Atlanta -195 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Hudson (3-1, 1.70 ERA) gave up just three runs in eight innings on Saturday but was outpitched by Derek Lowe in a 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Still, Hudson has lasted at least seven innings in all seven of his starts, giving up two runs or less in five of them.

"There are going to be nights that you don't have your best stuff and have to find a way to give your team a chance to win," Hudson told the Braves' official Web site. "I felt like I went out there and pitched as good as I could tonight with the kind of stuff that I had."

Hudson, who is tied with Jason Marquis of the Chicago Cubs for the second-best ERA in the majors, has lasted eight innings in each of his last four starts with a .195 opponent batting average.

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in four career starts against the Padres, but allowed nine runs in 9 2-3 innings without receiving a decision in two outings against them last season. In his only career start at Turner Field against San Diego on April 14, 2006, Hudson gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings.

The Braves (21-12) beat the Padres 3-2 on Wednesday for their fifth win in seven games. John Smoltz earned the victory against former teammate Greg Maddux in their first head-to-head matchup since 1992.

Smoltz gave up two runs in seven innings while Maddux, who did not factor in the decision, allowed one run in 5 1-3. The two spent 11 years as Braves teammates and have combined for 533 wins and five Cy Young Awards.

"What a special night," Smoltz said. "This one sure lived up to its billing, and we came out on top. That's the extra icing on the cake."

The Braves scored all of their runs with two outs, increasing their major-league leading total to 85 runs in that situation.

Braves shortstop Edgar Renteria, who has hit in 16 straight games, sat out for the second time in three games because of flu-like symptoms.

The Padres (18-16), whose .238 team batting average ranks among the worst in the majors, continued to struggle. San Diego is hitting .198 through the first six games of a road trip that ends with this contest.

"We've got to press the action," rookie manager Bud Black told the Padres' official Web site. "Our guys are going to play hard. We're not going to sit back and wait for homers."

David Wells (1-1, 6.03) will look to lead San Diego to a series split allowing three runs in 5 1-3 innings in the Padres' 7-6 win in 12 innings over Florida on Saturday. The left-hander, who turns 44 later this month, has given up 12 runs and 25 hits in 15 1-3 innings in his last three starts, but is just 1-0.

Facing the Braves in Atlanta for the first time since 2004, Wells is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA in three starts there.

by: Dave Michaels - – Email Us

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