A few more blasts might help Tim Hudson reach a major milestone.
After going deep four times in a series-opening win over the Pirates, the Braves look to continue their power surge Friday night against Rodriguez as they try to help Hudson earn his 200th win.
Atlanta (13-2) has hit 29 homers in its first 15 games, becoming the first NL team with such a torrid start since Cincinnati in 2006.
All of the Braves' runs Thursday came via the long ball. B.J. and Justin Upton each hit solo homers - Justin's was his major league-best ninth - while Chris Johnson and Evan Gattis added two-run shots in a 6-4 victory to help Atlanta match its best 15-game start in franchise history."I was a little surprised," Gattis said after hitting his fifth homer in his first 43 major league at-bats, a tiebreaking two-run shot in the eighth. "I didn't think I hit it hard enough. It started hooking and I'm glad it did because I don't think it would have gone out otherwise."
Opposing pitchers haven't had any margin for error against Atlanta, which is 13-0 when it scores. That's an intimidating prospect for Rodriguez (1-0, 1.00 ERA), who missed his latest start with a tight hamstring after leaving his April 8 outing at Arizona after 2 1-3 innings.
Perhaps the left-hander won't be too fazed by the Braves' torrid start at the plate, though. Rodriguez, who's facing Atlanta for the first time with the Pirates (7-8), hasn't allowed a Braves player to take him deep since July 6, 2008. He went 2-2 with a 1.80 ERA in his eight starts since against Atlanta while with Houston.
Rodriguez has generally done an excellent job of keeping the ball in the park since joining Pittsburgh. After allowing four homers in his first three games with the Pirates, he's given up four over 65 innings spanning his last 11 starts.
The Upton brothers are a combined 3 for 15 against Rodriguez, though they've each homered once.
The Braves counter with Hudson (2-0, 2.50), who has the majors' fourth-lowest home runs per nine inning rate (0.63) since 2007. He gave one up to Washington's Danny Espinosa on Saturday, but allowed only three other hits over seven innings while outdueling Stephen Strasburg in a 3-1 win.
That was Hudson's 199th victory, meaning Friday will be his first chance to become the 110th pitcher in major league history to reach 200.
"I'm just thrilled to have had the opportunity to play as long as I have," Hudson told the Braves' official website. "When I was in college, and even when I first started playing in the big leagues, 200 wins seemed like forever away. A lot of good things have to go right for you."
Plenty has gone right for Hudson in his recent starts against the Pirates. He's 4-2 with a 2.01 ERA in his last six outings versus Pittsburgh, and he hasn't allowed a homer over 40 1-3 innings in that stretch.
Leadoff hitter Starling Marte , who hasn't seen Hudson, struck out in all five at-bats in the opener as his 10-game hitting streak came to an end.
|April 16, 2013||Luis Avilan||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring injury|
|April 07, 2013||Cristhian Martinez||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|April 07, 2013||Freddie Freeman||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 06, 2013||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Sprained left thumb|
|March 27, 2013||Jonny Venters||15-Day DL||Sprained left elbow|
|March 22, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 09, 2013||Wandy Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Left game - left leg strain|
|March 26, 2013||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Right scapula soreness|
|March 22, 2013||Francisco Liriano||15-Day DL||Fractured right forearm|
|March 22, 2013||Jeff Karstens||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Charlie Morton||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 20, 2013||Chase d'Arnaud||60-Day DL||Left thumb surgery|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Wandy Rodriguez faced the minimum while throwing seven innings of 1-hit ball to outpitch Tim Hudson help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Atlanta Braves 6-0 on Friday.
Hudson came up short in his first attempt at win No. 200.
Pedro Alvarez homered for the second consecutive game and Russell Martin , Neil Walker and Travis Snider each reached base three times for Pittsburgh, which has won seven of its past 10 after a 1-5 start to the season.
Scratched from his most recent scheduled start after leaving his previous outing in the third inning because of a strained hamstring, Rodriguez (2-0) allowed only Jason Heyward 's one-out single in the fourth. Justin Upton followed by grounding into a double play.
Rodriguez struck out five without a walk.
Mark Melancon pitched a perfect eighth and Vin Mazzaro allowed Andrelton Simmons ' leadoff single in the ninth before finishing off the shutout, Pittsburgh's third this season.
The Braves (13-3) have not scored in any of their three losses this season.
Hudson (2-1) fell to 199-105 in his 15-year career and 6-6 against the Pirates. His next victory will allow him to join Andy Pettitte and Roy Halladay as the only active 200-game winners.
It was apparent Hudson did not have his best stuff right from the start. He was tagged for five extra-base hits in the first two innings, and two other Pirates outs in that span were hard-hit lineouts.
The notoriously streaky Alvarez went homerless in his first 14 games before taking Julio Teheran deep in the series opener Thursday. Friday's second-inning shot with Neil Walker aboard cleared the section of seats that sit above the 21-foot wall in right field.
Later in the inning, Jose Tabata doubled in Russell Martin .
Hudson was chased after allowing the first four batters of the fifth inning to reach. The final hitter he faced, Garrett Jones , lined a single down the left-field line with the bases loaded, driving in Jose Tabata and Snider.
Snider went 2 for 3 to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
Notes: Braves OF B.J. Upton was ejected by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook after a called third strike call in the seventh inning. ... Atlanta is 13-0 when it hits a home run and 0-3 when it does not. ... Braves LHP Luis Avilan threw a bullpen session Friday afternoon after not pitching since sustaining a left hamstring injury Tuesday. He remains day-to-day. ... The Pirates will donate the proceeds from Saturday's in-park 50/50 raffle to OneFundBoston.org. ... Former Pirates starter Paul Maholm will face Pittsburgh on Saturday for the fourth time since leaving as a free agent after the 2011 season. His 2.35 ERA since last season's all-star break is the sixth-best in the majors. His opponent will be RHP James McDonald , who allowed eight runs on eight hits in his previous outing Monday.