Braves bag fifth in a row

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ATLANTA --- Tim Hudson pitched six scoreless innings before tiring and drove in two runs, leading the Braves past the Washington Nationals 7-3 on Monday night for Atlanta's fifth win in a row.

Former Brave Johnny Estrada (left) watches Brian McCann's solo homer in the second, which helped Atlanta win its fifth in a row.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Former Brave Johnny Estrada (left) watches Brian McCann's solo homer in the second, which helped Atlanta win its fifth in a row.

The Braves have allowed only six runs during their winning streak, which pushed them above .500 for the first time this season at 10-9.

Washington keeps falling farther and farther back in the NL East race. The Nationals lost their third consecutive game and have dropped 15 of 17 since starting the season with three wins.

Matt Chico (0-4) lasted only four innings, giving up six runs and eight hits. He walked Hudson in the third with the bases loaded, one of several miscues that showed the Nationals need a refresher in baseball fundamentals.

Washington had two runners thrown out at the plate, the second with Atlanta ahead 6-0, and another thrown out at second to thwart a potential rally in the eighth. The Nationals also allowed a Braves runner to sneak home on Hudson's sacrifice bunt in the second, giving the pitcher his first RBI of the night.

Hudson (3-1) went to the seventh with 7-0 lead, but the Nationals touched him for a couple of runs. He might have gotten though it if not for an error by first baseman Mark Teixeira, who dropped a routine throw and gave Washington an unearned run. Royce Ring got the final out with two on to preserve Atlanta's 7-2 lead.

Still, it was a heartening performance for Hudson, who lasted only three innings in his previous start at Florida and couldn't get any heat on his pitches. He was back in the low 90s against Washington and, thanks in part to his defense, managed to avoid any major trouble despite giving up 10 hits and walking two in 6w innings.

The Braves jumped ahead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Chipper Jones, who was back in the lineup one day after leaving a game because of an ailing right quadriceps. Jones also extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Atlanta scored three more in the second. Brian McCann led off with his fifth homer, and runners were at first and third for Hudson's bunt.

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