Hudson throws eight shutout innings on three days' rest

ATLANTA (AP) -- One successful start on three days' rest didn't have Tim Hudson thinking it should set a precedent. He'll gladly take his normal four days off before his next start.

"I need all the extra days I can get," Hudson said.

Pitching on three days' rest for the first time in a regular-season game, Hudson threw eight shutout innings to lift the Atlanta Braves past former teammate Tom Glavine and the New York Mets 4-0 on Tuesday night.

While with Oakland, Hudson made two postseason starts on three days' rest. He moved up Tuesday after the Braves lost starting pitchers Mike Hampton and John Thomson to injuries in the last seven days.

"It's one of those things where you have to step up and do whatever it takes to help the team out," Hudson said.

Hudson (5-3) improved to 80-4 in 104 career starts when his team has scored at least four runs, but he was protecting a 1-0 lead before the Braves scored three runs off Glavine in the seventh inning.

"I was pitching as if that one run was all I was going to get," Hudson said. "To be honest, after getting that second run I felt better."

Johnny Estrada had three hits for the Braves, who were shut down early before finally breaking through in the seventh.

"I thought Glavine was pretty good," Estrada said. "I thought that was the best we had seen him in the last couple of years."

Glavine (3-5), frustrated again by his former team, allowed seven hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Glavine, who won 242 games with the Braves and then signed with the Mets as a free agent before the 2003 season, has only one win in nine career starts against Atlanta. He is 0-2 against the Braves this season and 1-8 overall.

"I'm not going to drive myself crazy thinking about it," Glavine said. "This obviously is the team we need to beat if we're going to win our division. They find a way to win games."

Glavine's ERA dropped from 5.44 to 5.43.

"I felt like it was as good as I have pitched all year," he said. "But that didn't make losing any easier."

Said Braves manager Bobby Cox: "Tommy and Hudson were hooked up good all night. Both of them, I thought, were outstanding."

Hudson had to pitch through jams early, stranding seven baserunners in the first four innings. But he allowed only one hit over his last four innings. He allowed six hits, walked two and struck out three.

The two times Hudson pitched on three days' rest were in the postseason with Oakland. He was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in those starts.

The Mets stranded two runners in each of the first three innings.

With runners on first and third in the first, Hudson escaped by striking out Cliff Floyd and Mike Piazza.

Piazza struck out -- this time looking -- to end the third with runners on first and second. Before leaving the batter's box, Piazza drew a line in the dirt with his bat to show he thought the pitch was inside.

"I felt like I took some good swings," Piazza said. "You have to realize in that situation he makes good pitches. He expanded the strike zone."

Said Floyd: "He's a great pitcher. He had a great outing tonight."

Mets manager Willie Randolph said his team "missed our opportunity."

"You have to get to him early, before he settles in," Randolph said of Hudson.

Glavine allowed one hit -- a second-inning bloop single by Estrada -- through the first four innings.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Raul Mondesi led off with an infield single, moved to second on Estrada's second hit of the game and scored on Ryan Langerhans' one-out single up the middle.

Hudson attempted a suicide squeeze but Glavine fielded the bunt and threw out Estrada at the plate. On the play, Glavine landed awkwardly on his right wrist but was able to remain in the game.

Mondesi beat out another infield hit to open the seventh inning, and Estrada followed with a run-scoring double down the left-field line for a 2-0 lead.

Estrada moved to third on a sacrifice by Wilson Betemit and, following a walk by Langerhans, scored on Hudson's groundout to third. Glavine was lifted after giving up a triple to Rafael Furcal
that drove in Langerhans for a 4-0 lead.

Reliever Heath Bell struck out Marcus Giles to end the inning.

Game notes
Langerhans ended an 0-for-20 slump with his run-scoring single in the fifth. ... Braves first baseman Julio Franco was third in the batting order for the first time this season while Mets first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz hit eighth for the first time. ... Estrada's double was his 14th of the season, two behind teammate and NL leader Giles.