Originally created 05/21/05

Atlanta's Hudson struggles in Boston



BOSTON - A curse is alive and well at Fenway Park.

No, not that one. Not the Curse. The beloved Boston Red Sox knocked that out months ago.

This would be Tim Hudson's harrowing hex when taking the mound of baseball's most famed and friendly park.

Hudson's career marks sank even deeper at Fenway on Friday when Boston socked Atlanta's ace for four runs in the early innings and hung on for a 4-3 victory in front of 35,332 fans, the 162nd consecutive sellout here dating to May 2003.

Red Sox closer Keith Foulke, who's had Dan Kolb-like troubles at times this year, made the ninth inning spicy by allowing three hits and two runs after inheriting a 4-1 lead.

Chipper Jones doubled off the Green Monster, Andruw Jones tripled to drive him in and Johnny Estrada's infield single plated the third run.

With the potential winning run at the plate, Julio Franco grounded sharply up the middle, but Edgar Renteria got over to it to pick up a 6-3 double play and spare the Sox from disaster.

"I thought we had a good crack," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Julio hit that ball pretty hard."

Hudson, who pitched here several times with Oakland, gave up four runs in the first two innings Friday to drop to 1-4 all-time at Fenway, where he's allowed 22 runs in 25 innings.

The big early hits were a Johnny Damon triple and homers by former Georgia Tech star Jason Varitek, who went 2-for-4, and Bill Mueller, whose shot went off Pesky Pole's in right field.

"It's tough to spot the other team four runs in the first couple of innings," said Hudson (4-3). "They took advantage of a few pitches that I got up in the zone. That was pretty much the ballgame."

Although Hudson settled after the run-scoring against him done, control was still problematic. He walked five batters while striking out three. Of his 108 pitches, 49 were balls.

"I'm still waiting to hit a groove here," said Hudson, who added that a delivery snag is leaving some of his pitches high. "I don't feel like I'm far off."

Hudson went 1-2 and allowed 12 earned runs in three starts on the team's current road trip.

But he's far from the only Brave on the skids. The team, now 23-18, is on its first four-game losing streak since the 2002 season. The Braves are 3-7 since departing home turf.

Reach Travis Haney at travis.haney@morris.com.