On paper, Wednesday night's game was going to be a pitchers duel, with Josh Johnson going up against Tim Hudson. It turns out that while Hudson clearly didn't get the message, Johnson heard it loud and clear as the Marlins beat Atlanta 5-1.
Johnson was dominant from the start, as he carried a no hitter into the eighth inning before Freddie Freeman hit a backside double over the head of Marlins third baseman Greg Dobbs to end the no-hit bid. Up until that point, a no hitter seemed almost certain for Johnson the way he was tearing through the Atlanta lineup. Locating a fastball that was 92-95 all night wherever he wanted it along with a slider that generated plenty of swing and misses, the Braves bats were completely cooled off after their hot performance last night.
Johnson left after that double from Freeman, and walked to the dugout having given up that one hit to go along with three walks and having struck out nine Braves.
There was one bright spot for the Braves offensively, as Chipper Jones hit a ninth inning homer off Marlins reliever Randy Choate to make the final score 5-1. The homer for Chipper was his first of the season, but more importantly it was Chipper's 1,500 RBI for his career. Chipper is now the second switch hitter ever to record 2,500 hits and 1,500 RBI's along with Eddie Murray.
On the other end of the spectrum, things didn't go nearly as well for Tim Hudson. Hudson struggled with his location from the get go, and gave up a lead-off double to center field Chris Coghlan to start the game. An Omar Infante grounder moved him over to third base, and then Hanley Ramirez lined a single up the middle to score Coghlan and give Florida a 1-0 lead.
Hudson's struggles continued into the second inning, where Hudson gave up back to back singles to Gaby Sanchez and Greg Dobbs to begin the inning. A wild pitch from Hudson moved the runners to second and third. Hudson then walked John Buck to load the bases for Josh Johnson. If there was any doubt it was Johnson's night, that doubt was put to rest when he hit a single through the right side scoring Sanchez making it 2-0.
Chris Coghlan followed with a single scoring both Dobbs and Buck, giving Florida a 4-0 lead after two innings.
Logan Morrison completed the offensive performance for the Marlins in the third with a huge home run to right field off Hudson, making it 5-0.
Hudson settled down after the home run by Morrison, setting down 11 of his last 12 batters, but it was too little, too late. Cristhian Martinez and George Sherrill combined to pitch a scoreless last three innings in relief of Hudson.
Atlanta falls to 5-7 on the year, while Florida improves to 6-5. The rubber match of the series takes place tomorrow night as Ricky Nolasco takes on Brandon Beachy.
WP: Josh Johnson (2-0), 7 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 9 K.
LP: Tim Hudson (2-1), 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.