May 20, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson (15) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Price was undefeated in three home starts this year with a 1.16 ERA and Hudson had only allowed three runs in his last 14 innings. Neither pitcher gave up a hit until the third inning when David Ross hit an opposite-field home run off Price with one out. The lead was enough for Hudson, who kept getting easy ground balls hit to his infield defense. In fact, six of the first seven outs Hudson recorded were on the ground.
Price was no less effective at inducing ground balls. Braves hitters grounded out eight times against the lefty, but Price relied more on the strikeout, getting four in the first three innings and finished his outing with seven in seven innings. Atlanta, however, rallied in the sixth with three singles against Price. Jason Heyward drove in Freddie Freeman with two outs in the inning, with assistance from a passed ball that moved Freeman to second, for a much-needed second run.
Hudson escaped trouble in the bottom of the sixth when the Rays loaded the bases with two outs against him, but Carlos Pena helped him out, flying out to center to squash the threat. Hudson lasted 7.2 innings, allowing just four hits and two walks. He induced 14 groundouts in the game.
A single by B.J. Upton chased Hudson from the game in the eighth, and Jonny Venters was asked to get the final out. Venters, however, made the game a little bit interesting when he plunked Matt Joyce and Carlos Pena to load the bases for the DH Luke Scott. Scott hit what was sure to be a game-tying single to right field, but Venters and the Braves were saved when the ball struck Pena on his way to second and by rule, Pena was out, preserving the shutout.
Craig Kimbrel retired the Rays in order in the ninth, striking out two for the save.