McCann, Hudson lead Braves over Phillies

Associated Press Modified: July 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm •  Published: July 6, 2012
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tim Hudson's bothersome left ankle forced two visits from the trainer in one inning.

The injury wasn't enough to knock him out of the game. Neither were Philadelphia's bats.

Hudson shook off the ankle spurs and tossed four-hit ball over seven strong innings and McCann hit a grand slam to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.

Hudson (7-4) almost had his effective outing wasted when he left a scoreless game after seven innings. Then Atlanta's bats helped him out in the eight.

Pinch-hitter Matt Diaz led off with a single against Antonio Bastardo (2-3) and Michael Bourn walked. After Martin Prado hit a shallow fly and Jason Heyward popped out, Chipper Jones walked to load the bases. Freddie Freeman then walked to force in the first run.

McCann followed with a shot to straightaway center for his ninth career slam, giving the Braves a 5-0 lead.

"I love hitting with the bases loaded because they have to come at you," McCann said. "They really can't walk you. It's definitely a good feeling to stand in the box and know they have to come see you."

Hudson went after a Phillies lineup that included slugging first baseman Ryan Howard for the first time this season. Howard — who once hit three homers in a game off Hudson — doubled in his first at-bat and was 2 for 4 in his first game since rupturing his left Achilles tendon on the final swing in a postseason elimination loss to St. Louis last October.

Hudson almost didn't make it out of the second inning. He shook his left ankle after a pitch to Carlos Ruiz in the second, prompting a visit from manager Fredi Gonzalez and the trainer. A few pitches later, they were back on the mound for a second visit, concerned Hudson might alter his mechanics to compensate.

Nothing to worry about here.

"I was wondering if there was a three knockdown rule like there is in boxing," a laughing Chipper Jones said. "But he was good. He stayed on top of him."

Hudson walked one and failed to strike out a batter for the first time in 78 starts. He improved to 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA in six road starts this season.

"He got a lot, a lot of weak outs. There weren't too many balls that were stung off him," Jones said. "That's an indication he's on top of his game."

Hudson nearly went pitch-for-pitch with Kyle Kendrick, who also threw seven scoreless innings and allowed four hits. Kendrick had five strikeouts.

"Today was probably the best I felt through this whole process," Hudson said. "I felt like my fastball, velocity wise, was pretty close to normal. I know for the last three or four starts, I didn't have a whole lot of confidence to really let it go."



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