This wasn't the most exciting of games, but it was reassuring on several levels. We saw Tim Hudson return to form with 7 solid innings, including 7 strikeouts and 65% ground balls (11/17). We saw Nate McLouth continue his good recent hitting (he doubled and homered). And we saw the Braves again take care of an inferior opponent on the road, something they had really struggled with in the last month or so.
The Braves got on the board first on McLouth's RBI double in the second inning, but the Mets came right back and tied it 1-1 on Jose Reyes' line-shot homer in the third. The tie didn't last long, either, though--Alex Gonzalez smashed a ball off the scoreboard, scoring both Brian McCann and Derrek Lee. Though Gonzalez was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple, his hit gave the Braves all the runs they would need with Huddy on the hill.
Staked to a 3-1 lead, Huddy did give up a solo homer to light-hitting former Brave Luis Hernandez, which was amazing because it came after Hernandez had broken his foot on a foul ball. Hernandez limped around the bases before being taken out of the game. He'll need surgery on the foot, but at least he went out in a blaze of glory.
After the Hernandez homer, Huddy didn't give up much of anything else. He preserved the 3-2 lead until leaving after the 7th inning. He gave up 2 runs, 6 hits, and 1 walk, and induced 3 double plays. His WPA was 0.227.
Hudson's counterpart, rookie right-hander Dillon Gee, was decent, but gave up a few too many hard-hit balls. He also went 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, 3 runs, and 3 walks (1 intentional) to go along with 3 strikeouts. His WPA was -0.027.
McLouth hit a solo homer in the 9th to give the Braves a little insurance. Jonny Venters pitched a scoreless 8th for the Braves, and Billy Wagner struck out all 3 batters he faced to finish the game off. Even without Takashi Saito, our bullpen is pretty darn good.
The Braves have now won their first road series since August 20-22 in Chicago against the Cubs. Tomorrow afternoon, they'll go for the sweep with Derek Lowe facing R.A. Dickey. If they get the sweep, it'll be their first road sweep since May. Go Braves!
(Oh, and I'm sorry I didn't get the open thread up today. Thanks to gondeee for getting it up.)
Tim Hudson -- 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 0.227 WPA
Alex Gonzalez-- 2/3, BB, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 0.145 WPA
Nate McLouth -- 2/4, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 0.122 WPA
Weirdly, Hernandez's homer edges out several other plays (0.130 WPA). The best for the Braves was Gonzalez's 2-run double (0.126 WPA), which presumably is docked points because he was thrown out at third base.