ATLANTA — For the first four innings, Tim Hudson wondered if Jeff Samardzija would be too tough to beat.
Luckily for Hudson, the hard-throwing Samardzija began having control problems, and the Atlanta Braves took advantage of the situation.
“You know you’re not going to get much against a pitcher like Samardzija,” Hudson said. “He was throwing some cheese in there.”
Hudson pitched six-plus strong innings and added an RBI and Ramiro Pena hit a two-run single to help the Braves beat the Chicago Cubs 5-1 on Sunday.
The three-game sweep ended a 5-1 homestand for Atlanta, which got a solo homer from Dan Uggla in the eighth off Hisanori Takahashi.
Chicago ended a six-game road trip with four losses as it heads to Wrigley Field for the home opener against Milwaukee on Monday.
Hudson (1-0) allowed three hits, one run and two walks in 62/3 innings. He struck out seven while improving to 3-1 in seven career starts against the Cubs with a 3.12 ERA.
“That’s Hudson,” Chicago manager Dale Sveum said. “He changes speeds. He’s got a slider, cutter, curveball, split. His fastball is really deceiving sneaky and obviously he can get groundballs. That’s Hudson.”
Samardzija (1-1) set a career high with 13 strikeouts, but gave up four hits, four runs and four walks in 52/3 innings.
“He’s got good stuff and he’s a great athlete and one heck of a competitor,” Uggla said after going 0 for 3 against Samardzija with two strikeouts.
“Everybody knows that. He kept us off balance. You’ve got to respect his 97 (mph fastball). We were able to scratch a couple (of runs) across, and Huddy was able to hold them right there.”
The Braves, without injured starters Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons, had struck out 10 times by the end of the fourth.
Braves reliever Jordan Walden struck out the side in the ninth.