Tim Hudson led the Braves on the mound and with his bat Sunday in a win against the Chicago Cubs.
ATLANTA — Tim Hudson did it with his arm and his bat on Sunday as the veteran right-hander helped Atlanta to a 5-1 win against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field.
Hudson (1-0) gave up only one run, allowed just three hits and struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings to win the 198th game of his career, and he also had an RBI single that padded the lead and gave the Braves a three-game sweep of the Cubs, the first time that’s happened since July 2005.
“He gave us a great opportunity to win (Sunday),” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of his ace.
Hudson gave up a run in the first inning when David DeJesus doubled and scored on an infield out. After the leadoff hit, Hudson retired 20 of the next 23 batters He left the game with two outs in the seventh when the Cubs got two runners on base.
“Early on I didn’t feel great,” Hudson said. “I was able to settle in and for the most part zero in and make some pitches.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum simply said, “That’s Hudson.”
Hudson credited rookie catcher Evan Gattis, with whom he had not worked this season, “for doing a great job mixing up the pitches.” Hudson is now 136-3 when given a three-run lead and has won 74 straight decisions in those situations.
Hudson outdueled Chicago right-hander Jeff Samardzija (1-1), who struck out a career-high 13 in 5 2/3 innings but absorbed his first career loss to Atlanta.
The Braves tied the game in the fifth when Ramiro Pena scored with the help of two wild pitches, the second one on a walk to Hudson.
“That walk to the pitcher turned the lineup around,” Sveum said.
The Braves broke open a 1-1 tie by rallying for three runs in the sixth against Samardzija. A two-out single by Pena with the bases loaded drove in two runs and Hudson knocked in another when his line drive glanced off the top of the glove of second baseman Alberto Gonzalez for a base hit.
Pena was playing for the second straight game because starting shortstop Andrelton Simmons was sidelined with a jammed thumb. Pena had a critical two-run hit in Saturday’s dramatic come-from-behind win and went 2-for-4 on Sunday.
“One guy in the lineup you didn’t expect winds up beating you two days in a role,” Sveum said.
Left-hander Luis Avilan bailed Hudson out by getting pinch hitter Scott Hairston to end the seventh inning on an infield grounder.
Avilan pitched around two hits to record a scoreless eighth.
Jordan Walden pitched a scoreless ninth, as the Braves opted not to use closer Craig Kimbrell in a nonsave situation. Walden did not allow a hit and struck out the side.
The lack of offense continued to bother Sveum. The Cubs left seven runners on base Sunday and were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
“The bottom line is we only scored one run,” Sveum said. “It’s going to be difficult to win games when you’re scoring one, two and three runs consistently. We’re going to have to hit to take some of the pressure off our starting pitchers, who are pitching their hearts out.”
Notes: The Braves placed first baseman Freddie Freeman on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique. Freeman was batting .412 (7-for-17) with one homer and seven RBI, tied with teammate Justin Upton for third in the league. The Braves purchased the contract of INF Blake DeWitt to replace Freeman. DeWitt hit .244 in 26 Grapefruit League games and was hitting .333 (2-for-6) in two games with AAA Gwinnett. Chris Johnson started at first in place of Freeman. … Carlos Marmol officially has been replaced as Cubs closer by rookie Kyuji Fujikawa after three ineffective outings. But Sveum left the door open for Marmol to reclaim the job. … Chicago returns home for its season opener after playing its first six games on the road. Atlanta is about to embark on a stretch where they play 16 of their next 18 games on the road. … The Braves drew 117,741 for the three-game series, with a crowd of 45,800 on Sunday.
Freeman unhappy over DL decision
ATLANTA — The Braves placed first baseman Freddie Freeman on the 15-day disabled list Sunday morning with a strained right oblique muscle and he’s not happy about it.
Freeman thinks he can continue to play through the injury, which he suffered during workouts last Sunday. He notes that he was on deck when Justin Upton hit a walk-off home run to defeat the Cubs on Saturday night. And he said he didn’t appreciate having to learn about the decision after the club already made it.
“I found out this morning when I walked in here,” Freeman said. “They didn’t even give me a choice, It’s my career. I should be able to make that decision.”
Freeman was still steaming as he vented to teammates just before he took the field to shag balls during batting practice.
Freeman, 23, was 7 for 17 with a home run and five RBI through the first five games. Freeman winced and grabbed his side after hitting a single in the eighth inning Saturday night.
“His last at-bat you could see it twitch a little bit, so we decided to ‘DL’ him,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said the need to place Freeman on the disabled list was “pretty apparent” after doctors examined him late Saturday.
“Obliques are going to be a couple weeks at minimum and, if you are really lucky, you can get a player back right after the ‘DL’ stint,” he said. “But it’s not shortened any. Especially this early in the season, we are not going to take a chance to turn what could be a two to three week (injury) into a six-to-eight week by tearing that oblique area.”
Wren said the team considers the desire of players when it comes to injuries and appreciates that Freeman wants to play “but sometimes we have to protect players from themselves.”
Freeman was not as kind in his assessment.
“They didn’t even tell me anything,” Freeman said. “I don’t know what’s going on. I’m pretty [angry] right now. It’s not hurt to the point where I can’t play. I can play just fine. At least talk to me about it. You can’t just make a decision without me knowing.”
Wren said it’s standard for the team to inform players of roster decisions when they first arrive in the clubhouse.
“This is not one of those situations where we want to lose him for the whole first half (of the season) by letting him go out and tear that oblique area and then we are dealing with a much different injury,” Wren said.
----- Information from Reuters News Service and McClatchy News Service was used in this report