Hudson on the mark in Braves' 3-0 victory

WASHINGTON - Tim Hudson scattered three hits over eight innings, outpitching Nationals starter Matt Chico, and the Atlanta Braves beat Washington 3-0 on Friday night.

Hudson (2-0) struck out five and walked two in improving to 6-1 all-time against the Nationals. Yunel Escobar hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, and the Braves added two runs in the ninth on a bases-loaded single by Matt Diaz.

Chico (0-2) gave Washington eight strong innings, allowing one run and five hits with a walk and three strikeouts. It was the longest outing of his career, but his only pitch to Escobar in the sixth inning cost him the game.

Peter Moylan retired the side in the ninth for his first save of the season.

It was the eighth straight loss for the Nationals, their longest losing streak since also dropping eight straight in May.

Washington manager Manny Acta had called a closed-door meeting before the game to address the losing streak. During the meeting, Acta told his players that small errors were hurting them in close contests.

'We can't afford to make those little mistakes that we're making right now that are costing us ballgames,' Acta said.

It sure seemed like nobody was listening.

Escobar opened the scoring by barely clearing the out-of-town video scoreboard on the right field wall. His second homer of the year gave the Braves a 1-0 lead, and the way Hudson was going it was all they needed.

Only once did Hudson allow a baserunner to second - Lastings Milledge advanced Cristian Guzman on a sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning.

Guzman had singled to lead off the fourth, and Hudson did not allow another hit until Austin Kearns singled in the seventh. Kearns was then caught stealing, a fitting end to the Nationals' only base runner over the final four innings.

Chico was nearly as dominant as Hudson. he retired nine straight batters and 13 of 14 before Escobar's home run.