ATLANTA (AP) - April was not a very good month for the Washington Nationals - and left-hander Gio Gonzalez is ready to move on.
Gonzalez lasted only four innings for the second time this season, giving up five runs, and Washington fell below .500 with an 8-1 loss to Tim Hudson and the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
``Last I checked we're still in April, right?' Gonzalez said. ``It's a long season, man. I'm not going to stress it. I know these guys are not going to stress it.'
Hudson hit a double and a home run, and combined with Anthony Varvaro on a three-hitter in earning his 200th career win.
``The stars were aligned and it was meant to be,' Hudson said of his starring roles as a pitcher and hitter.
Very little has been properly aligned for the Nationals against the Braves. Atlanta led 4-0 after two innings and cruised to its ninth straight win against Washington, dating to last season. The streak includes five games this season.
The Nationals (13-14) have lost three straight.
``We're off to a slow start,' Gonzalez said. ``Once we turn it around it's going to be a big change.'
Gonzalez (2-2) allowed five runs on seven hits and a season-high five walks with nine strikeouts. He has allowed five or more runs in three of his six starts this season, leaving his ERA at 5.34. It was the second start this season Gonzalez has pitched only four innings.
``Today is one of those things you just can't explain,' Gonzalez said. ``You either attack the strike zone or you don't. You get nine strikeouts and then five walks. Some good contact and then broken-bat hits.'
Washington manager Davey Johnson said poor command prevented Gonzalez from executing his plan to attack Atlanta's hitters.
``It looked like he was going right after them,' Johnson said. ``Obviously, he wasn't keeping the ball down and hitting his spots.'
Hudson (3-1) dominated the Nationals through seven innings, striking out six and walking two while giving up one run. One of the three hits he allowed was an infield single by Denard Span.
Hudson led off the second with a double to left field off Gonzalez and hit a fifth-inning homer off Zach Duke. Bryce Harper made a leaping attempt to catch the homer, but the ball bounced off his glove and over the wall.
``We're pitchers, we're not supposed to hit home runs anywhere,' Hudson said.
The homer was the third of Hudson's career and first since June 20, 2011 against Toronto.
``It was Hudson's night,' Gonzalez said. ``Tip your cap.'
The Braves, citing information from the Elias Sports Bureau, said Cleveland's Bob Lemon was the only other pitcher to hit a homer in his 200th win. Lemon's milestone came on Sept. 11, 1956.
Andrelton Simmons had three hits, including a homer to lead off the first inning for Atlanta. Freddie Freeman had three singles and three RBIs, and Evan Gattis drove in two runs with two hits.
Hudson, 37, became the third active pitcher with 200 wins, joining Andy Pettitte (248) and Roy Halladay (201). He is 200-105 in his career, including 92 wins while with Oakland from 1999-2004.
Hudson didn't allow a hit until Tyler Moore led off the fifth with a double to the right-field corner. Moore scored from third on a groundout by Wilson Ramos.
``That's the best I've seen him,' Johnson said. ``He used all his pitches, as usual, and made a lot of good pitches. Just a heck of a ball game.'
NOTES: Johnson said RHP Stephen Strasburg may have irritated a nerve in his right arm using an electrical stimulation machine. The device could have been placed too close to a nerve in Strasburg's right arm, leading to discomfort for the right-hander in Monday night's start against the Braves. ... Braves RHP Luis Ayala was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 25, with an anxiety disorder. RHP David Carpenter was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Braves C Brian McCann said his surgically repaired right shoulder is feeling good and he is throwing ``basically the same as before I got hurt.' He caught batting practice for RHP Brandon Beachy, recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery. McCann will return to his minor league rehabilitation schedule Wednesday and could come off the DL early next week. ... Braves LHP Paul Maholm will face Washington RHP Jordan Zimmermann on Wednesday night.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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