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Heyward, Hudson lead Braves past Pirates 7-0
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of the baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 21, 2010. - photo by Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Jason Heyward homered and drove in three runs to support Tim Hudson's eight dominating innings and the Atlanta Braves didn't wait until the late innings to put away Pittsburgh, beating the Pirates 7-0 on Friday for their fourth consecutive victory.

The Braves had won three consecutive games in their final at-bat, including a 10-9 win over Cincinnati on Thursday in which they scored seven runs during the best ninth-inning comeback in franchise history. They have won nine of 11 overall.

Hudson (5-1) allowed only three singles, two by Bobby Crosby, while winning his fourth consecutive decision this month — allowing no more than one run in any victory. The right-hander hasn't permitted an earned run in his last 22 innings in Pittsburgh.

Hudson, trying for his 12th career shutout and his first since May 2, 2008 against Cincinnati, was lifted after throwing 109 pitches. Eric O'Flaherty finished up the combined four-hitter — Atlanta's first shutout this season — as the Pirates were shut out for the third time in five home games and the sixth time this season.

A Braves team that specializes in winning late put this one away early against Ross Ohlendorf (0-2).

Martin Prado doubled and scored on Chipper Jones' single in the first and, the way Hudson was pitching, the Braves didn't need much more offense than that. Heyward gave it to them anyway.

Heyward walked in the first, then lined an Ohlendorf pitch into the right-field seats following Prado's leadoff walk to make it 3-0 in the third. Heyward missed a second homer by a couple of feet, lining another drive high off the right-field wall to drive in a run and finish off a three-run fourth inning that chased Ohlendorf.

Hudson contributed a run-scoring single to that inning, which started with Eric Hinske's double.

Heyward went 3 for 4 in his Pittsburgh debut, with center fielder Andrew McCutchen taking away a possible fourth hit by making a sliding catch of Heyward's sinking line drive in the sixth.

Brian McCann hit a solo homer, his fifth, off Pittsburgh reliever Jeff Karstens.

Ohlendorf pitched 3 2-3 innings in his third start since spending a month on the disabled list with back spasms, giving up six runs and seven hits. He has lasted longer than five innings once in four starts.

NOTES: The game was the only non-interleague contest in the majors on Friday. ... Saturday night's game won't be televised in Atlanta, the only Braves game all season that won't be shown. It also won't be shown in Pittsburgh. The Fox network's weekly Saturday telecast is in prime time, and other games being played then cannot be televised. ... Atlanta is 11-5 against the NL Central. ... OF Nate McLouth played in Pittsburgh for the first time since being traded to Atlanta nearly a year ago. Some Pirates fans wore McLouth jerseys. ... Atlanta is 9-14 on the road. ...The Braves are 14-6 since losing nine in a row.