Tim Hudson against Philly in a must-win game 162? Been there, done that

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First, the quote of the day from Mark Bradley of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:

“Tim Hudson in the 162nd game. A team could do worse. For example: Derek Lowe in the 161st game …”

Yup.  And we know this is true for reasons beyond the fact that Lowe, on general principles, sucks.  We know that because the Braves were in the exact same position last year.  They had a big lead — though a softer, earlier one — for a playoff spot in 2010.  They blew it. Less of a collapse than it was Philly remembering that they were good and overtaking them, but they blew the lead regardless.  They stumbled on offense down the stretch and then, on the final game of the season, they needed a win from Tim Hudson against a Philly team with nothing to play for in order to secure a playoff spot.

The result last year: an 8-7 win over Philly, with Tim Hudson picking up the win after giving up four runs in seven innings. As will likely be the case tonight, last year Charlie Manuel used the game to give multiple starters some work. Cole Hamels pitched two innings. Joe Blanton and Roy Oswalt each pitched an inning. There’s no Danys Baez around this year to blow it like he did last year, but Manuel will likely give multiple bullpen arms some work.

Like they say in the mutual fund ads, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But the fact is, the Braves have been here before.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.