ST. PETERSBURG – The rubber match turned out to be a pitchers’ duel on Sunday; while David Price pitched well enough to win, Tim Hudson pitched just a little bit better. Hudson and the Atlanta Braves won 2-0, taking two out of three in the first interleague series of the year over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hudson who was lights out and pitched into the eighth inning, allowing just four hits and no runs. Hudson had command of all of his pitches, frustrating the Rays’ hitters all day. In the sixth inning, Hudson found himself in a little trouble facing Carlos Pena with the bases loaded and two outs. But Pena flew out to center to end the threat.
After Jonny Venters pitched a shaky but harmless eighth inning, Craig Kimbrel earned his league-leading 13th save of the season.
David Ross, who gave Brian McCann a day off behind the plate, supplied some much needed offensive support with a solo homer off David Price in the third inning. The Braves second and final run of the game came on a RBI single off of Jason Heyward’s bat, scoring Freddie Freeman in the sixth.
The Rays didn’t have much to talk about on Sunday, except for the solid pitching performance by David Price. Price, who took the loss, pitched seven innings, allowing one earned run while striking out seven. Price lowered his ERA to 2.88 in the process.
Sean Rodriguez, who replaced Evan Longoria, made an amazing diving stop going to his right, and threw a seed to get Ross out at first in the 5th inning. Longoria was recently placed on the disabled list.
The last time the Braves traveled to Tropicana field was in 2006, when they also took two out of three. Chipper Jones didn’t play Sunday, due to an injury which occurred in Friday’s series opener. Jones who is from DeLand, Florida, got a standing ovation from the crowd, and it wasn’t just Braves’ fans. The 24,759 people on their feet was a sight to remember when Jones was bid farewell prior to the first pitch. It will be the last time the future Hall of Famer will play at the Trop unless the two teams meet in the Fall classic, with Jones set to retire at the end of the season. It was a special moment with fans appreciating a baseball player who has been with the same team for his entire career.
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