Posted July 10, 2013 on AP on Fox
No matter what happens in their final series of the first half, the Atlanta Braves will head into the All-Star break atop the NL East. That lead could have been bigger had they done a better job supporting Tim Hudson. The right-hander tries to build on his first victory in two months Thursday night in the first of four against the visiting Cincinnati Reds. Although Braves starters had a 4.21 ERA on a 3-3 trip that ended with Wednesday's 6-2 loss to Miami, that group's 3.52 ERA is a major reason why the team owns baseball's largest divisional lead. Atlanta (52-39) has held at least a share of the top spot in the East since April 5. Hudson (5-7, 4.03 ERA) has the worst ERA among Braves starters, but he's posted a 2.28 ERA in his last seven outings with opponents batting .207. He has a team-worst 3.42 run-support average while going 1-3 during that stretch, even after Atlanta set season highs for runs and hits (19) in Saturday's 13-4 victory at Philadelphia. Hudson, working on six days' rest due to a sore neck, was 0-6 in his previous 10 starts. "It makes my job a lot easier when we're able to put up some crooked runs," he told the Braves' official website after yielding one run and walking none in seven innings. Hudson, 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA in eight home starts, gets his first look at the Reds (51-40) since their last game in Atlanta, a 6-2 Braves victory May 15, 2012. Atlanta took two of three from the Reds from May 6-8. The Reds will now try to hand the Braves a season high-tying third straight home defeat after ending their three-game skid with Wednesday's 6-2 victory at Milwaukee. Cincinnati scored four runs during its slide. "It would have been a graveyard in here if we didn't pull this one out," starter Mike Leake said. The Reds continue their trip with Mat Latos (8-2, 3.18) on the mound. The right-hander permitted four runs and a season high-tying four walks but struck out 11 over six innings in Saturday's 13-4 victory over Seattle. "The offense picked me up," said Latos, who received four runs of support in his previous three starts. "Thirteen runs is always good, especially when I put us in a 2-0 hole." Latos, 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts in Atlanta, should be especially careful with Chris Johnson, who's batting .409 with nine RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak. Johnson, 7 for 15 with a homer and three doubles off Latos, was hitless in five at-bats against the Reds in May. Teammate Andrelton Simmons went 8 for 13 with two homers and four RBIs. Chris Heisey, who was sidelined for that series with a hamstring injury, is questionable for Cincinnati after getting hit on the left arm by a pitch Tuesday and missing Wednesday's game. Heisey is 9 for 11 in five career games in Atlanta. Shin-Soo Choo, who has hit safely in a team-best eight straight, will play his first game there. The center fielder hit two homers, including a walkoff shot, in a 5-4 victory May 7. Brandon Phillips is 3 for 21 when facing Hudson, while fellow All-Star starter Joey Votto is 1 for 10.

Freddie Freeman beats out Yasiel Puig in final vote

Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America Atlanta Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman surprisingly was the NL Fan Vote selection to the All-Star Game. Freeman led from the beginning of voting until conclusion and will attend his first All-Star Game. Yasiel Puig, who had been considered the favorite entering the contest, finished second meaning he will have to wait to make the...

Upton Brothers Lead Braves Past Marlins

The Atlanta Braves got big nights from Julio Teheran and both Upton brothers as they beat the Miami Marlins in game two of the series.  The Braves pounded out 11 hits while defeating the Marlins 6-4 on Tuesday. With Monday night’s 14 inning game, the Braves really needed Julio Teheran to go deep into Tuesday’s start.  Teheran did exactly that, with a great start in Miami....

Evan Gattis Begins Rehab Assignment Friday Night

The Atlanta Braves announced in the press box during the first inning of the Braves/Cincinnati Reds game that Evan Gattis would begin a rehab assignment Friday night with the Gwinnett Braves. The G-Braves will play a 7:05 game at Durham. The rookie catcher, who is nicknamed “El Oso Blanco” will be the designated hitter.  A timetable has not yet been given on when he will play...

Brandon Beachy went three innings in rehab start Tuesday

On Tuesday Brandon Beachy made his first rehab start since being sidelines with elbow inflammation last month. Beachy, 25, pitched three innings for Triple-A Gwinnett allowing two runs. The Braves pitcher allowed three hits and a walk and stuck out one. Overall he threw 29 of 45 pitches for strikes. The Braves will likely ask Beachy to make two or more additional starts before they...

Braves' Heyward leaves game with hamstring injury

ATLANTA -- Jason Heyward left Atlanta's game against Cincinnati on Thursday night after straining his right hamstring on a slide at third base. The Braves said Heyward will be re-evaluated on Friday. Heyward reached on a throwing error by first baseman Joey Votto and advanced to third on Justin Upton's infield hit. Heyward was running from second base when he appeared to...

Reds headed to Atlanta for 4-game set prior to All-Star break

No matter what happens in their final series of the first half, the Atlanta Braves will head into the All-Star break atop the NL East. That lead could have been bigger had they done a better job supporting Tim Hudson. The right-hander tries to build on his first victory in two months Thursday night in the first of four against the visiting Cincinnati Reds. Although Braves starters...

Upton brothers lead Braves in win

After the final out, Justin Upton made a beeline for his brother in the Atlanta Braves outfield, and they shared a happy hand slap. Both were key contributors in a victory, which hasn't happened often this year. Justin Upton homered, doubled twice and scored three runs, while B.J. had two hits, drove in a run and scored to help beat the Miami Marlins 6-4 Tuesday night. '...

Braves' Heyward leaves game with apparent injury

Jason Heyward has left the Braves' game against the Reds with an apparent injury. Heyward, who reached on a throwing error by first baseman Joey Votto, advanced to third on Justin Upton's infield hit. Heyward was running from second base when he appeared to make a last-second decision to slide into third. Heyward was safe on the play but remained on the ground at third...

Braves’ Cristhian Martinez undergoes season-ending shoulder surgery

The Atlanta Braves’ bullpen took another hit yesterday, as right-handed reliever Cristhian Martinez underwent season-ending surgery on his ailing shoulder, according to Mark Bowman of Martinez has been battling shoulder issues nearly the entire season, as he only made two appearances for Atlanta prior to hitting the disabled list. It appeared he would rejoin...

Braves and Atlanta vs. ESPN: The Battle over All-Star Fan Vote

We've tried really hard not to wade into this, but it touches on a few of our favorite topics. (1) The Atlanta Braves (2) ESPN If you are a baseball fan, you know the all-star game is next week. And the last component to the two teams roster is a staged popularity contest known as the "Fan" vote. And what this story is about is how polarizing it's become...

Braves' Evan Gattis and Jordan Schafer close to returning

While the Braves were in the clubhouse prepping for Wednesday’s series finale — an early start at 12:40 p.m. — Evan Gattis took batting practice with outfielder Jordan Schafer. It was also the first on-field hitting for Schafer since he was DL last week with a badly bruised ankle from a foul ball. Schafer should also be ready shortly after the All-Star break. El Oso Blanco...

Evan Gattis Unlikely to Return to Atlanta Braves Lineup Before All-Star Break

The cries for the return of El Oso Blanco are being heard loud and clear right now, but Atlanta Braves fans will probably have to wait until after the All-Star break for the return of Evan Gattis. Having hit 14 homers in just 53 games and 163 at-bats, it's no wonder the Tomahawk Nation is anxious to get him back. Gattis, who is recovering from a strained oblique muscle, did return to baseball

Screengrab Snafu: BJ Upton drops a deuce into left field

Photo galleries for games are located way out in the boondocks of, which is maybe why not too many people caught this little snafu from the Marlins-Braves game.  (Additionally, it was Justin Upton and not B.J., the trouble of having the Upton brothers on the same roster.)  I'm not sure whether that's ESPN's caption or the AP's caption, but either way it...

All-Star Freddie Freeman Keys Braves Win Over Reds

The Atlanta Braves newest all-star, Freddie Freeman, used Thursday night to show why he deserved to win the final NL spot.  Freeman led the Braves (53-39) to a 6-5 victory in the first of four games against the Cincinnati Reds (51-41). It was around 5:15 p.m. on Thursday when Freddie Freeman and the Braves got the news they had hoped to hear.  With 19.7 million votes, Freeman beat...

Justin Upton **** a Double

Justin, not BJ apparently to boot. [Awful Announcing] **Follow us on Twitter, View Blitz Viral Videos, or Return to us on Twitter. Subscribe or Return to Bob's Blitz. Full story at Bob's Blitz ~
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.