by: David O\'Brien Updated:
NEW YORK - What had been a splendid night for the Braves took an awful turn in the eighth inning Wednesday, when veteran pitcher Tim Hudson sustained a severe injury to his right ankle while covering first base in a 8-2 win against the New York Mets.
Hudson was pitching a four-hit shutout before the grotesque injury occurred when Eric Young stepped on his leg just above the ankle and the ankle rolled inward, all the way to the ground. Hudson held onto the ball for the out and hopped a couple of times before falling to the ground in agony.
The 37-year-old right-hander was attended to by trainers and paramedics for about 10 minutes before being lifted onto a motorized cart and taken off the field and transported to a local hospital. There was no immediate announcement about the extent of his injury.
There were two runners on base and one out when Young hit a grounder that bounced off the chest of first baseman Freddie Freeman, who retrieved it and tossed softly to Hudson, covering on the play. His right foot was on the inside edge of the base when Young stepped on it while running full speed.
Hudson (8-7) was replaced by Luis Avilan, who gave up a two-run double to the next batter, Daniel Murphy. Until the eighth inning, Hudson had allowed only two runners to reach second base, and none to reach third.
He was charged with four hits, two runs and three walks with nine strikeouts in 7-2/3 innings, but his pitching line and little else about the game seemed very important after the injury.
There was an audible gasp from the crowd at Citi Field when the replay was shown on the stadium video board, and Hudson got an ovation as he was carted off the field, the path of the vehicle taking him within a couple of feet of concerned teammates who lined the top step of the visitor’s dugout on the third-base side.
Until the injury, the first-place Braves were enjoying a rare night on the road when everything was clicking for them.
Evan Gattis, who was a junior college teammate of Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner for half a season in 2006 at Seminole State (Okla.) College, hit a mammoth homer against him in the second inning, the first of three for the Braves off Hefner (4-8).
Andrelton Simmons and Dan Uggla drove in all five runs in a fifth-inning outburst that chased Hefner and assured the Braves of a least a split of the four-game series. It was the 11th homer for Simmons and third in six games on the trip. He had only six all season in 2012 in the major and minor leagues.
Hudson won his third consecutive road start since a stretch in which he went 0-7 with a 6.40 ERA in eight road starts.
The Braves are 3-3 on their seven-game trip, and a win in Thursday’s finale against the Mets would give them their first winning record on a trip in nearly two months, since finishing 3-2 on the road against the Mets and Toronto May 24-28.
Gattis’ long homer to the second seating deck in left field was his first since June 10th and his ninth hit in a six-game hitting streak that began the day after he returned from a four-week stint on the disabled list for a strained oblique.
Uggla pushed the lead to 4-0 with his team-high 20th homer, a three-run shot with none out in the fifth. Three batters later, Simmons hit a two-run homer that gave him six in his past 21 games and three homers in six games on this trip.
The six runs and three homers were two more of each than the Braves’ combined total in their previous three games against the White Sox and Mets. The run support amounted to overkill for Hudson, who improved to 142-3 (with 29 no-decisions) when given a lead of at least three runs.
But again, statistics seemed of little concern as the Braves’ respected team leader was carted off the field in pain.