By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Tim Hudson took a shutout into the eighth inning before getting spiked at first base and carted off the field during the Atlanta Braves’ 8-2 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons all homered off an ineffective Jeremy Hefner to help the Braves’ bats break loose after scoring only four runs in their previous three games. But the nasty-looking injury to Hudson is a huge concern, leaving the NL East leaders without a veteran winner who was on a roll.
Hudson (8-7) was working on a four-hitter when Eric Young Jr. hit a grounder that was knocked down by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Hudson took Freeman’s toss at the bag just before Young arrived, and the speedy outfielder stepped on the back of Hudson’s lower right leg, near his Achilles, driving the pitcher’s right ankle awkwardly into the ground.
Hudson immediately went down in obvious pain, and Young rushed over to check on him. The crowd at Citi Field groaned when the replay was shown on the big video board.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and a trainer rushed out to aid Hudson, who took off his cap and held his shaved head in his hands. EMS workers finally strapped the right-hander to a backboard and drove him off the field on a cart as fans applauded.
Young remained nearby throughout the entire delay, which lasted almost 10 minutes, and shook Hudson’s hand before he was carted away. Hudson nodded back at him.
The 38-year-old Hudson won his fourth straight start, striking out nine in 7 2-3 innings. Luis Avilan replaced him and gave up a two-run double to Daniel Murphy, who made two errors at second base.
Hefner (4-8) compiled a 1.76 ERA in his final eight starts before the All-Star break, the best mark in the majors during that span. But he was tagged for a career-worst eight runs and 10 hits in two-plus innings last Friday against Philadelphia, a personal nemesis throughout his two-year career.
The right-hander wasn’t much better against Atlanta, allowing a career-high three homers in 4 1-3 innings. All of them were no-doubters, too.
Gattis hit a solo shot into the second deck in left field in the second inning, his first home run since June 10 in San Diego. Despite spending 24 games on the disabled list with a strained muscle on his right side, he leads major league rookies _ by a wide margin _ with 15 homers and 39 RBIs.
Brian McCann reached on an error to start the fifth when Murphy, playing deep on the outfield grass, bobbled an attempted backhand. Gattis singled and Uggla drove the next pitch to left for his 20th home run.
Chris Johnson singled and, one out later, Simmons teed off on a 2-2 breaking ball to make it 6-0.
Simmons also hit a leadoff homer Tuesday night for Atlanta’s only run.
Wearing orange jerseys with Los Mets written across the chest, the Mets could hardly get out of their own way. When star slugger David Wright broke his bat on a double-play grounder in the fourth, the barrel buggy-whipped around on his follow through and hit him in the back of the neck.
Wright barely got out of the box before stopping in his tracks and bending over in pain. New York manager Terry Collins and a trainer came out to check on Wright in a moment of genuine concern, but he cracked a sheepish smile while rubbing his head as he walked back to the dugout.
NOTES: Braves RHP Brandon Beachy, recovering from Tommy John surgery in June 2012, was set to make another rehab start Wednesday night for Triple-A Gwinnett. With LHP Paul Maholm (bruised left wrist) about to go on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, Beachy could be back in the rotation soon. … Rookie left-hander Alex Wood will be called up to start the series finale Thursday in Maholm’s place. The 22-year-old Wood (0-2, 2.45 ERA) has made 16 major league appearances but only one start, when he lasted three innings in a June 18 loss to the Mets. He has since been stretched out in the minors, and manager Gonzalez said Wood could be pushed to about 90 pitches Thursday. … Gonzalez said Maholm will make a minor league rehab start before returning from the DL. … RHP Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.58) pitches for New York on Thursday. The prized rookie threw six shutout innings at Atlanta to win his big league debut June 18. … Mets OF Lucas Duda (ribcage) and catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud (foot) began their rehab assignments in the rookie level Gulf Coast League. Duda will play left field and first base during his rehab stint, Collins said. … LHP Jonathon Niese (shoulder) should begin a rehab assignment in the GCL no later than next week, Collins said. … Reserve infielder Justin Turner will make his first start Thursday since coming off the disabled list, Collins said.
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