Tim Hudson to have ankle surgery

NEW YORK -- Tim Hudson broke his right ankle when he was stepped on while covering first base Wednesday night, ending one of his best starts to a season and spoiling Atlanta's 8-2 victory against the New York Mets.

The Braves said Hudson will have surgery in Atlanta when swelling to the ankle goes down.

"We won, but it's a tough night," catcher Brian McCann said.

Hudson, 38, was working on a four-hit shutout in the eighth inning 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 inadvertently stepped on the back of Hudson's lower leg, driving the pitcher's right ankle awkwardly into the ground.

"I flipped and spun," Freeman said. "I didn't see it and I don't want to see it."

Hudson immediately went down in obvious pain, and Young rushed over to check on him. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and a trainer also ran out to aid Hudson, who took off his cap and held his shaved head in his hands.

The crowd at Citi Field groaned when the replay was shown on the big video board. Gonzalez said he hadn't seen it -- and wasn't sure he wanted to.

EMS workers strapped Hudson 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.

"I'm hustling down the line like I always do, going for the base," Young said. "I saw his foot, as I'm going for the base, right there in the middle, as I came down, I knew I didn't get any of the base. I know I got all of his foot. I pretty much knew it was probably broke right as I did it, and that's why I sprinted right back to him and tried to console him as much as I could and apologize.

"I was able to see Tim before they took him to the hospital. He told me it wasn't my fault, just one of those freak plays that happened."

Hudson (8-7) won his fourth straight start, striking out nine in 7 2-3 innings -- his most since fanning 10 Mets on June 17, 2011.

It's unclear how long Hudson will be sidelined or whether he'll be able to pitch again this season. Regardless, the Braves know they'll be minus one of their top pitchers for an extended period. They've built an eight-game cushion in the division, but losing Hudson could damage their postseason chances.

"It's terrible," second baseman Dan Uggla said. "That's a big blow."

It's the second starting pitcher loss for the Braves this week. Left-hander Paul Maholm (bruised left wrist) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.

Right-hander Brandon Beachy, recovering from Tommy John surgery from June 2012, made another rehab start Wednesday night for Triple-A Gwinnett, allowing one earned run in six inning. He could be back in the rotation soon.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Matt Ehalt and The Associated Press was used in this report.