Hudson exits to cheers from visitor's side of the stands (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)

THE RESULT:  Tim Hudson always beats the Nats.  Wednesday night was no different, as the veteran pitcher dominated the Washington Nationals and led the Atlanta Braves to a 3-1 lead before 24,263 sticky and sweaty fans at Nationals Park.

Hudson struck out seven in 7 2/3 innings, giving up just one earned run on seven hits and one walk.  It's just another quality outing against a division rival that he absolutely owns.  Lifetime, Hudson is 10-1 with a 1.49 ERA in his career against the Nationals.

He faced four of fewer batters in six of his seven innings -- all but the fifth -- where the Nats picked up their lone run.  Ivan Rodriguez led off the frame with a double, his first extra-base him in 12 games, and scored on a Michael Morse two-out single.

Hudson delivers in 3-1 Braves win over Nats (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)
The Braves got all the runs they needed in the first off Nats starter Livan Hernandez (7-7, 3.22).  The first two Braves hitters touched Livo for hits, and Chipper Jones hit a sac fly to score Martin Prado and move Jason Heyward up to third.  Brian McCann walked to set up a potential double play.

Hernandez struck out Eric Hinske, and Rodriguez threw down to second in an attempt to throw out McCann, who had broken for first.  McCann stopped in his tracks and retreated, and shortstop Ian Desmond threw to Adam Dunn at first.  At that point, Heyward broke for home and easily beat the throw from Dunn to score the second run of the inning.

It was the Braves first steal of home in a decade.

Jones drove in Prado again in the fifth for an insurance run the Braves would never need.

THE GOOD:  Joel Peralta threw three innings in relief.  He struck out three, walked one and gave up two hits.

Joel Peralta sparkled in relief for the Nats in 3-1 loss to Braves.  (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)
THE BAD:  Adam Dunn went 0-for-4, leaving three men on base, including striking out in the bottom of the eighth with a man on as he represented the tying run.

The strain of trade rumors may be getting to Adam Dunn. (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)

THE UGLY:  Willie Harris struck out in all three of hit at bats.

THE STATS:  The Nats struck out nine times in the game and walked just once.  They went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.

NEXT GAME:  Thursday at 12:35 pm.  Scott Olsen (2-2, 3.77) returns to the rotation after missing two months strengthening his shoulder after off-season surgery.  He'll face Derek Lowe (10-8) for the Braves.

NATS NOTES:  Before the game, Stephen Strasburg addressed the media on his balky shoulder.

Strasburg said. "I just went out there, I felt tight a little bit. I wanted to go out there to keep it loosened up. It was just one of those days where it was tighter than normal. I'm just at the point in the season where I'm kind going down uncharted territory. Got to be smart right and look at the big picture."

Asked how he felt, he replied, "I feel a lot better. My range of motion, after going and doing some stretching and everything, it's starting to come back to me. Made big strides today. I'm not going to jump the gun, just going to take it day by day and hopefully go out there, meet with the trainer tomorrow and get better."

"We're taking it day by day right now. We're going to see how it feels tomorrow, and then after tomorrow see how it feels the next day."

Rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg relaxes in dugout in 3-1 loss to Braves. (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)