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Giants-Braves Game Three Preview

(Sports Network) - A battle of top tier pitchers is set for tonight in Atlanta, where Braves ace Tim Hudson takes on San Francisco Giants hurler Matt Cain in the continuation of a four-game series from Turner Field.

Hudson has won three straight starts and is 6-3 in his last nine decisions. He previously toed the rubber in Monday's 4-1 home victory over the New York Mets, as Hudson stymied the NL East foes with six innings of one-run ball. The effort lifted his mark to 12-5 and lowered his ERA to 2.36 in 22 starts.

The right-hander, who is 7-3 in 10 home starts, faced San Francisco in his 2010 debut back on April 9 and did not figure into the decision of his team's 5-4 loss. Hudson held the Giants to two runs in seven innings. In 12 career starts in this series, he is 4-4 with a 3.90 earned run average.

Atlanta's lead in the National League East dipped to just one game over the surging Philadelphia Phillies after Friday's 3-2 loss in 11 innings. Giants outfielder and former Phillie Pat Burrell lifted a sacrifice fly in the top of the 11th inning to put his team ahead for good, while Braves reliever Peter Moylan was dealt the loss for allowing Burrell's run and walking four over 1 2/3 innings of work.

Tommy Hanson had a strong start wasted, as he held the Giants to just a run and three hits over seven innings in the no-decision.

"I threw the ball well. I feel like I'm going out there and giving us a chance to win, that's my goal every time out," Hanson said. "These close games. hopefully they turn around and we're on the other side of it."

Chipper Jones finished with three hits, including a home run, and Alex Gonzalez also went deep for Atlanta, which lost for the fourth time in seven tries and saw Billy Wagner blow his sixth save of the season.

San Francisco tied the game in the top of the ninth inning when Pablo Sandoval reached first on Jones' fielding error, allowing Aubrey Huff, who was hit by a Wagner pitch, to cross the plate for a 2-2 score. Burrell then made it a 3-2 game with a sac fly in the 11th frame and Brian Wilson closed the door in the bottom half for his 32nd save.

Barry Zito started for the Giants and pitched seven innings of two-run ball with 10 K's and two walks in the no-decision. Javier Lopez fanned two in the 10th to record the win.

"I had some good stuff working tonight, breaking ball was good, the slider was probably the best its been all year and the boys scratched some runs across. Hanson was good on the other side. It's good to even the series," Zito said after the Giants pulled with a game of NL West-leading San Diego. The Padres lost to Arizona last night.

The Giants ended a two-game slide and have won five of their last seven games.

Meanwhile, Cain enters this matchup on a hot streak and is 3-0 with a 1.52 earned run average in his last four starts -- all San Francisco wins. Cain, who has yielded three total runs in his last three starts, delivered 7 2/3 shutout innings in a 2-0 win over Los Angeles the last time out on Sunday.

The big right-hander has lasted at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his previous six outings, and is 9-8 with a 2.98 ERA in 22 starts this season. Cain will try to build on his 3-5 road ledger this evening and is 2-1 in four career starts against the Braves.

The Giants took two of three at home from the Braves in April and have won nine of the last 14 meetings, though they did lose three of four at Turner Field a season ago.