Well that was unexpected.

Tim Hudson pitched a great game, Fredi Gonzalez pushed the right buttons, and BJ Upton got the game winning hit. Perhaps it was all luck – or perhaps people just need patience. Baseball seasons are long, these guys are professionals, and the goat one day is often the hero the next.

Tim Hudson in particular deserves praise. He hasn’t had great results this season, but it’s way too early to say he’s done. In fact, if you look at his May numbers, the peripherals were pretty good: a 3.5/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a 3.73 FIP, and a 3.66 xFIP. His ERA sucked, true – and fans focus on that number more than any other – but that was mostly due to a .348 BABIP and a 51.6% LOB percentage.

All Hudson really needed was a bit more good luck, and tonight he got it. In 7.1 innings, the veteran hurler induced a slew of ground balls that this time were hit at fielders. Thereby avoiding all “episodes,” Hudson surrendered a lone run, and was largely efficient and effective. 4 strikeouts, 10 ground balls, 1 walk: keep your forks another week.

Fredi Gonzalez meanwhile isn’t being cursed to hell after the game, and for that, I reckon, he can be thankful. Or maybe he doesn’t care. Actually, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. In any event, Fredi pinch ran for Evan Gattis again, only this time he did it in the 10th and the move paid off. Here’s what happened: after 9 innings of being stifled by Nats pitchers, the Braves sent Gattis to the plate to lead off the bottom of the 10th. Gattis walked, and Fredi then pinch ran Jordan Schafer. He also then pinch bunted with Pena – disaster, as usual – but we’ll leave that alone. Schafer stole second anyway, Uggla walked, and BJ came to the plate.

Against all odds, the lesser Upton finally became the greater. He lined a Henry Rodriguez fastball into right field, scoring the fleet-footed Schafer, and suddenly legions of fans who had spent the better part of the evening cursing his very existence were cheering his timeliness. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come. After all, BJ did get 2 hits tonight. But it was only one game, and one game does not fix an astronomically high k-rate and astronomically low LD rate. Or maybe it was a start.

Either way, the Braves will be going for the series win tomorrow. They don’t face the Nationals again until August, and the time is nigh for a 6.5-game lead.