Braves' Hudson owns Jays

Braves starter Tim Hudson pitches against the Blue Jays in Atlanta, Ga., Monday night. (Reuters)

Braves starter Tim Hudson pitches against the Blue Jays in Atlanta, Ga., Monday night. (Reuters)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:35 PM ET

ATLANTA - We’ve heard it, oh so many years.

Watching a pitcher hit, or try to hit, is boring, a waste of time.

Why is the National League so out dated without a DH?

Pitcher can’t hit, hey aren’t athletes.

The Blue Jays were about to escape a man-on-second, none-out jam in the bottom of the seventh in a scoreless game Monday.

All that prevented lefty Ricky Romero from getting out of the heat and taking a dugout seat on a warm Georgia night was retiring counterpart Tim Hudson, a career .166 hitter and 1-for-25 (.040) this season

Hudson hit Romero’s first pitch to left for a two-run homer.

That and reliever Craig Kimbrel were enough for a 2-0 Atlanta win before 22,937 at Turner Field.

“Ricky threw the same pitch as the one before (ground ball out),” Jays manager John Farrell said, “the ball cut back across the middle of the plate.”

Dominating

Hudson allowed two balls out of the infield to pick his 171st career win: J.P. Arencibia’s line single with one out in the second and a Jayson Nix’s fly to right to end the second.

Hudson recorded 15 ground ball outs and struck out eight in his eight-plus innings.

Between the Arencibia single and a lead-off walk to Mike McCoy in the ninth, Hudson retired 20 hitters in succession. After Yunel Escobar reached on an infield single, Kimbrel struck out Corey Patterson, Jose Bautista and Adam Lind.

“I saw three balls above the belt all night,” Aaron Hill said. “J.P.’s hit, a ball J.P. fouled off in the fourth and another J.P. fouled off in the seventh.”

Battling shortstops

All that was needed was banjos to accompany the duel of highlight plays made by Braves’ Alex Gonzalez and Escobar, traded for each other a year ago.

They took turn making sparkling plays in the field, Gonzalez to his right on Escobar in the third, Escobar throwing home in time to get David Ross at the plate for the second out of the seventh. Gonzalez raised his arms and slapped his glove.

With two out and a man on first, he — like the rest of the Jays dugout — thought the Jays were out of the inning.

Gonzalez ended an 0-for-19 skid with a lead-off double in the sixth.

Escobar grounded to short three straight times before reaching on an infield single to who else but Gonzalez.

Gonzalez had six assists, Escobar four and he also threw a ball into the dugout for an error.

They said it

“I called the Florida Marlins to see if I could manage, they told me I was too young,” said Braves coach emeritus Bobby Dews, 72. Jack McKeon, 80, took over the Marlins replacing Edwin Rodriguez, who resigned. Scouts say McKeon will be a caretaker until the Marlins find a name manager to run the club when it moves into it’s new park.

The best

Third baseman Chipper Jones is in his 19th season with the Braves. The best shortstop he has ever play alongside? “Alex Gonzalez,” Jones said about the ex-Jay. “It’s a given you’ve got great hands if you are playing the middle. His feet are the most impressive thing, he’s always moving, diving in the outfield. I’d compare him to Omar Vizquel.”

Jones has Escobar as the second best on a list which includes Rafael Furcal, Edgar Renteria, Walt Weiss and Jeff Blauser.

“You know they wanted to trade Yunel before they did,” Jones said. “I remember saying if he matures he’ll be a perennial all-star, he’ll hit high in the lineup and hit for average. Some times you need a change of scenery.”

Jones said he was happy to hear about the Jays giving Escobar a two-year $10-million US contract extension through 2013.

McGriff’s body guard

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and ex-Jays slugger Fred McGriff (493 career homers) were teammates as 18-year-olds with the 1982 rookie-class Gulf Coast Yankees. “I hit behind McGriff for protection,” Gonzalez said. Really? “Yeah, Fred hit third ... I hit eighth,” Gonzalez said. The man making out the lineup for the Yanks was Carlos Tosca, Gonzalez’s bench coach.

Numbers

Hudson struck out Arcenbia for his 1,600th career strikeout. As a point of reference Nolan Ryan holds the all-time mark with 5,714 ... Romero allowed a lead-off single to Jordan Schafer and promptly picked him off first, as Adam Lind came off the base to make an accurate throw to second. It was Romero’s fourth of the season equalling Kyle Drabek’s pick off total.

Briefer

Larry Parrish, the new Braves hitting coach, and Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton could pass for twins. Parrish is sporting a Walton-like beard ... Right-hander Jesse Litsch will make a rehab start Thursday for double-A New Hampshire against Altoona ... The Canadian flag was right side up on the centre field scoreboard during the anthems.

Question

What’s all indignation about it being impossible to have a pre-draft deal selecting 21st? The Jays had a pre-draft deal with a player picking 33rd in 2000. When the player was selected before the Jays had their turn, the Jays chose right-hander Dustin McGowan. Baseball Prospectus has reported the Jays had a pre-draft deal with right-hander Tyler Beede, their first pick, a high schooler from Auburn, Mass.


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