for this game

Braves aim to keep slim playoff hopes alive

Sep 22, 2006 - 1:27 PM Atlanta (75-78) at Colorado (71-82) 8:05 pm EDT

DENVER (Ticker) - Every game has become a must-win situation for the Atlanta Braves. But they still need a lot of help.

Atlanta sends Tim Hudson to the mound Friday night at Coors Field as it continues a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies.

The Braves have not missed the playoffs since 1991 and have an outside chance of making their 15th straight postseason appearance. They are five games behind Los Angeles with nine games to play.

Since getting swept in a doubleheader in Philadelphia on September 13, Atlanta has won six of eight. On Thursday, the Braves opened this series with a 6-3 victory.

Andruw Jones, who has four home runs in his last eight games, hit a three-run homer to help Atlanta rally from a 3-1 deficit.

After getting seven strong innings from John Smoltz, the Braves will try to get a similar result from Hudson (12-11, 4.83 ERA). Hudson is 4-2 with a 4.61 ERA over his last 10 starts.

Hudson is coming off one his finest starts of the season. Although he did not factor in an 8-7 win over Florida on Sunday, Hudson allowed just one run and three hits in seven innings.

One of Hudson's best performances of this season was against Colorado on May 1, when he fired a one-hitter in Atlanta. The only hit he allowed was to starting pitcher Jason Jennings in the third.

Despite losing the series opener, Colorado has won six of its last eight home games. The Rockies will send Josh Fogg (9-9, 5.68) to the mound and will hope for a vast improvement from his last five starts.

Since beating Arizona on August 17, Fogg is 0-2 with a 13.05 ERA. In that span, he has been torched for 20 earned runs and 36 hits in 29 innings.

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