ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tim Hudson threw another gem against Tampa Bay.
Hudson scattered four hits over 7⅔ innings, David Ross homered and the Atlanta Braves beat the Rays 2-0 on Sunday.
“My sinker has been key for me all year,” Hudson said. “I was able to keep them off balance.”
Hudson (3-1) retired nine in a row before Ben Zobrist opened the fourth with a line single to right. The right-hander struck three, walked two and got 14 groundball outs.
“That’s what he is, a groundball machine,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He did it pretty efficiently, too.
Ross put the Braves up 1-0 on an opposite-field, solo-homer to right in the third. Jason Heyward made it 2-0 on a two-out, RBI single during the sixth.
Jonny Venters, who replaced Hudson after B.J. Upton had an infield single with two outs in the eighth, loaded the bases by hitting both Matt Joyce and Carlos Pena. The left-hander caught a break when Pena was called out between first and second when he was hit by Luke Scott’s grounder.
“It caught me in mid-stride,” Pena said. “It was just a helpless feeling because I couldn’t go anywhere. I think I was in the air when the ball was hit, and it was a rocket. It was just bad luck. If I played it less aggressively, the wrong way, maybe I’m able to stop, back off and we score two runs. So I think there we got penalized for running the bases right.”
Scott was credited with a single.
“Got lucky and we won the game,” Venters said. “A win is a win.”
Gonzalez called the eighth an interesting inning.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an inning in the major leagues end the way that inning ended, but we’ll take it,” he said. “We won’t give it back.”
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 13th save to complete the five-hitter.
David Price (6-3) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings for Tampa Bay.
“He’s been good all year, and his whole career,” Hudson said. “You knew runs were going to be tough to come by. That two-run lead felt like it was an eight-run lead because you didn’t expect to get a whole lot today.”