published Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Hudson, Braves blank Diamondbacks, 1-0

ATLANTA — Tim Hudson combined with two relievers on a five-hit shutout, Alex Gonzalez homered and the Atlanta Braves beat slumping Arizona 1-0 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

The Diamondbacks have lost five straight to match their longest skid of the season.

Hudson (13-7) allowed only three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in seven scoreless innings. Jonny Venters pitched the eighth before Craig Kimbrel escaped trouble in the ninth to earn his 39th save.

Kimbrel walked Chris Young with one out in the ninth. Young advanced to third on Miguel Montero’s single up the middle. Kimbrel hit 100 mph on the Turner Field radar gun before striking out Paul Goldschmidt on a 99 mph fastball. He struck out Sean Burroughs to end the game.

Arizona began the day 2.5 games ahead of San Francisco in the NL West. The Braves have won four straight and six of seven and began the day 8 games ahead of the Giants in the wild-card race.

Right-hander Josh Collmenter (7-8) gave up only four hits and one run in seven innings but saw his streak of road starts without a win extended to nine.

The Diamondbacks have scored only nine runs in their last six games, including three runs in the three losses to Atlanta.

Collmenter threw six scoreless innings, giving up only two hits, in a 2-1 win over the Braves on May 19. The Braves hoped their second look at Collmenter would make the right-hander’s unusual over-the-top delivery less difficult to solve.

Instead, the leadoff homer by Gonzalez in the third was Atlanta’s only run.

A strong defensive play by first baseman Freddie Freeman preserved Hudson’s 1-0 lead in the sixth.

Kelly Johnson led off with a triple to right. One out later, Chris Young hit a popup that Freeman chased into foul territory and caught while running with his back to the plate. Johnson took off from third base as Freeman turned and threw to the plate. Catcher Brian McCann moved to his right to catch Freeman’s throw and then made a lunging tag before Johnson slid over the plate.

Collmenter loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but pitched out of the jam with fly balls from Dan Uggla and Freeman.

The Braves couldn’t extend the lead in the eighth when Michael Bourn hit a one-out double to right and advanced to third on Justin Upton’s fielding error.

Bourn took off from third on an attempted squeeze play, but Martin Prado missed the bunt attempt and Bourn was caught in a rundown.

The Diamondbacks also lost five straight from May 8-13. Both streaks came on road trips.

NOTES: The Braves wore new “Ernie” patches on their sleeves to honor former pitcher and longtime broadcaster Ernie Johnson Sr., who died on Aug. 12 at the age of 87. ... Braves RHP Peter Moylan will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. He had surgery on May 17 to repair a bulging disk in his lower back. ... RHP Tommy Hanson (shoulder) plans to throw in the bullpen on Monday in Chicago and could begin a rehab stint with Greenville on Saturday. ... RHP Jair Jurrjens will face the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster as the Braves open a four-game series in Chicago on Monday night. The Cubs won two of three in Atlanta on Aug. 12-14. ... Arizona’s 10-game road trip through the NL East continues Monday when LHP Joe Saunders faces Washington’s Ross Detwiler in the opener of a four-game series.

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