May 9, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson tosses the ball to first base during the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
If you like ground ball pitchers, this game was for you, because both starters received no shortage of worm burners today. Seven of the first nine outs Hudson recorded were on the ground, and five of the first nine for Maholm.
Hudson breezed through the first three thanks to a second-inning double play, but Starlin Castro sought to spoil the easy outing by lining a fourth-inning pitch to right. Castro had an easy triple, but when he tried to score an inside-the-park home run, Dan Uggla denied him with a great relay throw to the plate.
While Hudson was cruising, the offense behind him twice threatened against Maholm. In the fifth, Jason Heyward drew a one-out walk, then Cubs outfielder Tony Campana lost David Ross's fly ball in the sun for a single, but neither one could score. In the sixth, Martin Prado doubled with one out and a walk to Uggla put two on for Chipper Jones. He hit a screaming liner up the middle, but the Cubs defense denied him of the run-scoring hit to end the threat.
Meanwhile, Hudson had faced the minimum through six innings having thrown only 61 pitches. However, David DeJesus led off the seventh with a single and was at third with two outs for Bryan LaHair, who entered the game hitting .314 with runners on base. LaHair had a single in two trips against Hudson, but Hudson decided to pitch to him instead of on-deck hitter Ian Stewart, he of a .196 batting average, and LaHair made Hudson pay with an RBI single for the only run of the game. Stewart, to no surprise of anyone, grounded out to end the inning.
Hudson allowed five hits in seven innings with 15 ground ball outs. Maholm received 12 such outs.
Another Braves threat in the eighth evolved into nothing, and they went down quietly in the ninth.