Braves’ Hudson shuts out Blue Jays

Posted June 20, 2011, at 9:59 p.m.
Last modified June 21, 2011, at 9:46 a.m.

ATLANTA — Tim Hudson pitched eight scoreless innings and hit his second career home run in the Atlanta Braves’ 2-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.

Hudson (6-6) allowed two hits, one walk and struck out a season-high eight, including the 1,600th of his career. He took Ricky Romero (6-7) deep to make it 2-0 with two outs in the sixth.

Toronto has lost two straight and five of seven.

Hudson retired 20 straight batters before Mike McCoy walked to lead off the ninth and advanced to second on Yunel Escobar’s infield single.

Closer Craig Kimbrel struck out Corey Patterson, Jose Bautista and Adam Lind to earn his 20th save in 25 chances.

Bautista, who began the game leading the major leagues with a .483 on-base percentage, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts to snap a streak of reaching base in 24 straight games.

Toronto hadn’t been shut out since losing 9-0 at home to Detroit on May 7. But the Blue Jays were nearly punchless against Hudson, who had gone 1-4 with a 5.80 ERA in his previous seven starts— a streak that began with a one-hit home shutout of Milwaukee on May 4.

Romero escaped trouble with runners in scoring position during the first, second, fourth and sixth innings but he made a mistake with a fastball to Hudson, whose homer landed in the seats in left field.

Hudson became the first pitcher to homer against Toronto since Felipe Lira hit one out against David Wells on July 8, 2000, at Montreal.

Romero, who allowed six hits, two runs, two walks and struck out four in seven innings, has lost three of four starts despite a 3.23 ERA.

The Braves paused the game for a few seconds to acknowledge Hudson’s 1,600th career strikeout when J.P. Arencibia whiffed in the fifth. He got his first career curtain call in the seventh.

Hudson, who hit his first career homer on Sept. 12, 2009, at St. Louis, bailed out his team after David Ross was thrown out at home on Diory Hernandez’s fielder’s choice grounder.

When manager Fredi Gonzalez came to get him in the ninth, Hudson tipped his cap to a standing ovation.

Hudson, who improved to 3-3 with a 2.60 ERA, made 89 pitches through his first eight innings.

Notes: Braves LF Martin Prado is still recovering from surgeries to treat a staph infection and doesn’t know when he can resume baseball activities. … Gonzalez said RHP Brandon Beachy, on the 15-day DL since May 15 with a left oblique strain, will start Wednesday. … Braves SS Alex Gonzalez doubled in the sixth to snap an 0-for-19 streak.

Roberts gets good medical report

BOSTON — Dave Roberts is back at Fenway Park after receiving a good medical report following his treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

San Diego’s first base coach says he got clean scans at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He talked before the Padres opened a three-game series against his former team on Monday night.

Roberts underwent treatment after the cancer was discovered early last year and worked out with Padres players early this year. He has to undergo two scans each year.

The former outfielder may be best known for his stolen base in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4 of the 2004 AL championship series with the New York Yankees leading 4-3 after they won the first three games. He scored and the Red Sox won four straight games, then swept the Cardinals in the World Series.

Astros’ Pence to play Tuesday

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Houston Astros think right fielder Hunter Pence will return to the lineup on Tuesday night.

Pence was held out for the third straight game Monday night because of a sprained left elbow.

“The doctors and trainers feel one more day would be extremely beneficial for him,” manager Brad Mills said before the opener of the Lone Star Series in Texas. “Right now, I would fully expect him to be in the lineup tomorrow.”

Pence was hurt Friday night at the Los Angeles Dodgers. He returned to Houston to be examined before rejoining the team before Monday night’s game in Arlington, his hometown.

“It feels good from where it was,” Pence said. “I’m trying to get out there as hard as I can. I feel good enough to take some swings in the cage and hopefully get out there tomorrow. I’m close, very close.”

Pence leads the Astros with nine homers and 51 RBIs, and was fourth in the National League with a .321 batting average.

Astros rookie catcher Carlos Corporan started his fifth consecutive game in place of J.R. Towles, who has been hampered by soreness in his legs. Mills said Towles was available to play even though he wasn’t in the lineup against the Rangers.

“He’s slowly progressing. His legs have taken so much of a beating,” Mills said. “He could catch a game if he had to.”

Houston has been without catcher Humberto Quintero since he was put on 15-day disabled list May 28 after spraining his right ankle in a collision at home plate.

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