Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson lies on the ground in pain Wednesday after his ankle was stepped on by New York’s Eric Young Jr. during an ugly first-base collision.
NEW YORK -- In a split-second, one of the best nights of Tim Hudson's 14-year career turned into the worst.
Now Hudson -- as well as the rest of his Atlanta Braves teammates and the innumerable big leaguers who have come to respect Hudson as one of the finest competitors and individuals in the game -- must hope that only his season came to an end on Wednesday night.
Hudson suffered a fractured right ankle covering first base in the eighth inning of the Atlanta Braves' 8-2 win over the New York Mets on Thursday night at Citi Field.
The Braves announced shortly after the game that Hudson will undergo surgery once the swelling goes down. Hudson, who turned 38 on July 14, is scheduled to become a free agent after the World Series.
Hudson won his fourth straight start -- and recorded the 205th win of his career, second-most among active pitchers -- by allowing the two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out a season-high nine, including seven looking. The nine strikeouts were his most since he whiffed 10 Mets in a 1-0 win on Sept. 17, 2011.
"That was one of the best games I've ever seen him pitch," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "And to have that happen is just terrible."
Hudson has been remarkably durable since reaching the majors with Oakland in 1999. He averaged 196 innings a season between 2000 and 2012 despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2008 that cost him most of the 2009 season.
"He's huge, he's the veteran presence around here that people go to -- it's Tim Hudson," Braves catcher Brian McCann said shortly before the Braves announced Hudson's diagnosis. "The guy's got (205) wins. Best teammate you're ever going to have. And everybody in here feels bad for him."
Hudson was five outs away from his 26th career complete game when he threw the fateful 107th pitch of the night.
With runners at first and second, the Mets' Eric Young hit a sharp grounder to first base, where Freeman bobbled it before regaining control and firing to Hudson, who had sprung off the mound as soon as the ball was hit.
Hudson beat Young to the bag by a step but his foot hit the middle of the base instead of the side. As Young stretched, his foot landed on Hudson's ankle.
Hudson hopped once before falling face-first on the grass. Young, sensing immediately that Hudson was hurt, whirled and ran to his side as Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and trainer Jeff Porter bolted from the dugout.
"As I came down I knew I didn't get any of the base I got all of his foot," Young said. "I pretty much knew it was broke right when I did it. That's why I ran back to him and tried to console him as much as I could and to apologize."
Young remained there for the next several minutes as Hudson laid motionless with his hands on his head and a look of resignation on his face.
Once Hudson was placed on the cart, Young went over and shook Hudson's hand before he walked off the field and began wiping his eyes.
Young said Hudson told him repeatedly that he wasn't at fault, but Young was still clearly shaken up after the game, when he sat facing his locker with his head hung low.
"I just hope he has a speedy recovery, getting back and doing what he does," Young said. "He pitched a great game. I hope he can get back out there and do what he loves."
After a delay of about 10 minutes, the Mets' Daniel Murphy hit a two-run double off Luis Avilan before Jordan Walden struck out David Wright to end the inning.
"We had a couple guys on (and) Murph, when he got the base hit, brought a little energy back," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But there's a lot of thoughts going out to Tim Hudson because he is a class guy.
"I just hope that it's nothing serious because he's one of the real true competitors you like to go out and compete against."
Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer to fuel a five-run fifth by the Braves against Jeremy Hefner (4-8). Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run homer in the fifth while Evan Gattis hit a solo shot in the second. Uggla, Simmons and Gattis all had two hits apiece.
But afterward, the Braves weren't thinking about the game they'd won, only who they'd lost.
"We're talking about a guy that had a chance to complete a game and the shutout and the whole thing," Gonzalez said. "And now you don't even hear music in the clubhouse."
"That's all that was on my mind, basically, the rest of the game was how he was doing," McCann said. "You think about his family, who's here in the stands watching that.
"We won. But it's a tough night."
NOTES: Mets minor league C Travis d’Arnaud began a rehab assignment Wednesday with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets and went 1-for-3 while catching five innings. It was the first game for d’Arnaud since he suffered a broken left foot while playing for Triple-A Las Vegas in April. … Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (left rotator cuff tear) has thrown in the bullpen and is expected to begin a rehab assignment with the GCL Mets no later than Aug. 1. … Braves OF Jordan Schafer, who hasn’t played since July 3 due to a contusion and a stress fracture in his right ankle, has begun light running but has yet to begin baseball-related activities. … Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said LHP Paul Maholm (left wrist contusion) will make a rehab start before returning to the Braves. Maholm will be placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, retroactive to Sunday, in order to make room for LHP Alex Wood, who will start in place of Maholm in the series finale against the Mets.