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Braves top Lincecum, San Francisco
Braves Giants Basebal Heal
Atlanta Braves' Martin Prado slides in to score the Braves' fifth run during the seventh inning of Saturday's game against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Atlanta won the game 5-2. - photo by Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Hudson outdueled Tim Lincecum and came within one out of his first complete game this year, leadoff man Martin Prado drove in Atlanta's first three runs and the Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Saturday to secure just their third series win of the season.

Hudson (3-2) followed up Tommy Hanson's strong outing a night earlier with his own impressive performance in a matchup of two undersized, hard-throwing righties.

Hudson allowed nine hits, struck out four and didn't walk a batter in an efficient, 112-pitch outing. Manager Fredi Gonzalez left Hudson in to start the ninth but he gave up Pat Burrell's leadoff double and a sacrifice fly to Miguel Tejada.

Lincecum (2-2) was tagged for five runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings after he carried a no-hit bid into the eighth inning Monday at Colorado. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner also walked six and struck out six, while allowing his most earned runs since also giving up five last Aug. 15 against San Diego during a career-worst, five-start losing streak.

Brian McCann added a two-run single in the seventh off Javier Lopez to end an 0-for-10 drought and further back Hudson. This outing was reminiscent of the pitcher's dominant days across San Francisco Bay as a member of Oakland's "Big Three" — with Hudson still hitting 91 mph on the radar gun even at the end.

Atlanta's No. 3 starter had made it only six innings in his previous two outings after going seven in each of his first two starts. This time, he worked ahead and calmly got out of trouble when the Giants created chances.

While his lone clean innings came in the first and sixth, he was helped by two double plays. Hudson had only thrown 72 pitches through six, 23 fewer than Lincecum.

Craig Kimbrel retired pinch-hitter Buster Posey on a flyball to center for the final out for his sixth save in seven chances and second in as many games.

The reigning World Series champion Giants had their streak of four straight winning series snapped. Lincecum was handed only his third loss in nine career starts against Atlanta, the team the Giants eliminated in four games in the NL division series last fall during their improbable postseason run.

Lincecum's day began with back-to-back walks to Prado and No. 2 hitter Jason Heyward and still escaped the first facing the minimum. Prado was caught stealing, then Freddie Freeman grounded into a double play after Heyward reached.

Lincecum received a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Righetti after a one-out single to Nate McLouth and a walk to Hudson in the third. Prado then singled in Atlanta's first run to tie the game. McLouth scored that run and then again on Prado's go-ahead single in the fifth. Prado reached on a fielder's choice in the seventh for another RBI.

Gonzalez rested Chipper Jones as planned, but Jones also was nursing a sore right knee that wasn't considered serious. McCann is likely to sit out Sunday's series finale, with Jones back in the lineup for his 39th birthday. Gonzalez doesn't want both stars on the bench the same days if possible.

Lincecum retired cleanup hitter McCann and No. 5 batter Dan Uggla in each of their first three at-bats without the ball leaving the infield.

Cody Ross drove in his first run of the season after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the week.

Burrell hit a one-out double in the second and easily beat a close play at the plate to score on Ross' ensuing single. After that inning, Hudson allowed only three more baserunners to reach second.

Giants Sunday starter Jonathan Sanchez was fighting a flu bug that required him to receive an IV for dehydration, but manager Bruce Bochy expected the left-hander to make his start.

"We think he'll be fine for tomorrow," the skipper said.




: Hudson improved to 2-2 in six regular-season starts at AT&T Park. ... Lincecum singled leading off the fifth for his first hit of the year after an 0-for-10 start. ... Freeman singled in the ninth to reach base safely for the 15th time in 16 games. Uggla was the lone starter not to reach base. ... Posey had most of the day off after a night game, something Bochy will do on occasion to not overwork the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. ... Neither injured Giants CF Andres Torres (strained left Achilles' tendon) nor RHP reliever Santiago Casilla (inflamed pitching elbow) will make the team's upcoming 10-game East Coast road trip. Instead, they will travel to Arizona to rehabilitate and perhaps get into some extended spring training games. ... San Francisco drew 42,395 fans for its eighth sellout in as many home games this year.