Jason Heyward homered and Troy Glaus drove in two runs to back seven strong innings by Hudson in Atlanta's 3-1 victory over the Rays on Thursday night.The Braves took two of three games in an interleague matchup of division leaders. They've won four of five overall and 11 of 12 at home to improve to 21-7 at Turner Field."Two out of three against any team is very good, especially a team like that," Hudson said. "They're one of the best clubs in the American League."Tampa Bay's two-game slide dropped the Rays to 9-13 since May 23."For the most part, we didn't have many chances, but neither did they," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "They took advantage of their chances."Hudson (7-2) lowered his ERA nine points to 2.34 after allowing four hits, one run and four walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander improved to 113-21 in his career when pitching at least seven innings.In 11 career starts against Tampa Bay, he is 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA.Glaus, whose 53 RBIs include 27 with two outs, gave the Braves their first lead at 3-1 with a two-run double in the sixth."Troy came through with the big hit," Hudson said. "Hit it just soft enough they couldn't get to it. Those are the kind of hits I love."Atlanta improved to 9-0-3 in its past 12 series. The Braves were 13-18 after losing May 9 at Philadelphia but are 26-10 since.Hudson stranded two runners in the fifth by retiring rookie Reid Brignac on a comebacker. Hudson escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh following a mound visit by manager Bobby Cox when pinch hitter Willy Aybar grounded out."We just played some good, clean baseball," Hudson said. "We're a tough, gritty team."Jonny Venters stranded a runner in the eighth before closer Billy Wagner earned his 11th save in 13 chances with a perfect ninth.Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Carl Crawford walked, moved to second on Evan Longoria's groundout and scored on Carlos Pena's RBI single.Heyward's 11th homer, a solo shot to right-center, tied it in the fourth."It was good to get Huddy back in the game," Heyward said. "This team is a team, from bullpen to defense to hitting. That's what you've got to have."Atlanta took a 3-1 lead in the sixth. After singles by Hudson and Martin Prado and an intentional walk to Brian McCann that loaded the bases, Glaus lofted a double just beyond the reach of a diving Ben Zobrist in short right field."A split second earlier, I would have had it," Zobrist said. "I gave it my best effort. I just couldn't get to it. As soon as I saw it in the air, my thought was to get under it."James Shields (5-6) lost his career-worst fifth straight start. Making his first appearance against Atlanta, the right-hander allowed three runs, five hits and one walk with three strikeouts in six innings.Shields, who has given up five homers in his past four starts, has a 7.58 ERA during his losing streak."A broken-bat hit got them two runs," Shields said. "That pitch and the one to Heyward were the only bad pitches I threw."Grant Balfour pitched the seventh and Joaquin Benoit the eighth for Tampa Bay.Rays center fielder B.J. Upton was 1-for-12 in the series with eight strikeouts. He also was picked off at first by Hudson in the second inning.The game started 26 minutes late because of a rain delay.
Glaus made a backhanded grab of Zobrist's hard grounder in the second to begin a 3-6-3 double play. ... The Braves have beaten Tampa Bay in six of seven series and are 15-6 against the Rays since interleague play began.
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ATLANTA - JUNE 17: Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves holds a press conference at his locker in the team...