ATLANTA — Tim Hudson struck out a career-high 13 and Martin Prado equaled his career best with five RBIs, powering the Atlanta Braves to a 12-3 rout of the Florida Marlins on Saturday night.
Matt Diaz and Eric Hinske also homered for the Braves, who scored six runs in the second and snapped a four-game losing streak, their longest since April.
They maintained a two-game lead in the NL East over Philadelphia, which won 3-1 at San Diego.
Hudson (15-5), who has come back from major elbow surgery with perhaps the best season of his career, struck out the first two Florida hitters to prevent a repeat of Friday night's debacle, when Tommy Hanson served up back-to-back homers to start the game.
Those first two Ks gave Hudson 1,500 for his career, earning a long cheer from the Turner Field crowd. He stepped off the mound, tipped his hat and smiled as the milestone was noted on the giant videoboard behind him.
There were plenty more where that came from. Hudson closed with a flourish, fanning the side in the seventh to eclipse his previous career best of 12 strikeouts. This was certainly out of character for the right-hander, who is known for his sinker and normally relies on ground balls for outs. This was just the 11th time in 337 career starts that he's put up double-digit Ks.
Florida went down swinging all but once against Hudson.
The Braves blew this one open early, sending 11 hitters to the plate in the second against Ricky Nolasco (14-9). Prado had a bases-loaded walk to account for his first RBI of the night. He added a two-run single in the third and a two-run homer in the seventh, equaling the five RBIs he had at Milwaukee on May 10.
Diaz, making a rare start against a right-handed pitcher, led off the second with a homer over the center-field wall.
Alex Gonzalez beat out an infield hit, Melky Cabrera singled and Hudson bunted them over to second and third.
Another infield hit, this one on a grounder to shortstop by Omar Infante, made it 2-0. Jason Heyward ripped a grounder off the chest of first baseman Gaby Sanchez, which was ruled the third infield hit of the inning and loaded the bases. After Prado's walk, Brian McCann cleared the bases with a three-run double into the right-field corner to make it 6-0.
Nolasco was replaced at the start of the third, having surrendered seven hits and three walks in his shortest start of the season. In contrast to Hudson, he didn't strike out anyone.
The Marlins also played some shoddy defense, even though they were charged with only one error. In addition to the liner off Sanchez, McCann picked up a gift single when shortstop Hanley Ramirez couldn't find a popup in short left. Ramirez did recover in time to throw out Prado, trying to score all the way from first.
Florida's only recorded error came on another popup into short left. Again, Ramirez drifted back and appeared to have this one well in hand — until Logan Morrison charged in and knocked it out of his teammate's glove. Diaz scored on the miscue, avoiding a swipe tag by wisely choosing not to slide.
After replacing Derrek Lee at first base, Hinske led off the fourth with a homer.
NOTES: Lee injured his right side and was removed for precautionary reasons. He's expected to be available for Sunday's series finale. ... Florida OF Cameron Maybin was back in the lineup after going out the previous night with what was announced as a strained groin. Maybin said he was merely dehydrated. ... The Marlins lost for only the third time in 11 games. ... Hudson's previous season high was seven strikeouts.