Tim Hudson turned in his most dominant start of 2014 and helped the Giants squeak out a 3-2 win over the Padres, completing a 5-1 home stand and giving the Giants 17 wins in April – they’re best start since 2003 (19 wins).
With Wednesday night’s victory, San Francisco took the series to remain in first place in the National League West by a half-game over the Colorado Rockies.
The Giants got Hudson run support early. With one out in the bottom of the first, Hunter Pence singled – to extend his hitting streak to nine games – and promptly stole second for his fifth steal of the year. After Buster Posey popped out, Michael Morse collected his team-leading 20th RBI by hitting it off the right-field wall. Brandon Hicks continued his hot home stand and led off the next inning with a solo home run to right to make it 2-0 after two.
San Francisco added one more in the seventh when Joaquin Arias led off with a single, Pence singled him to third, and Posey singled him home. Both Pence and Posey had two hits in the win and have heated up lately, but Posey is most impressed with the three newest Giants – Hudson, Morse, and Hicks.
“All three of them have been really big for us. Seems like Morse is getting two-out RBIs every game, Hicks is coming up with some big homers, playing great [defense], and then obviously Huddy’s been really, really good.”
Even though he was saddled with the tough-luck loss, San Diego starter Robbie Erlin turned in a quality start, going six–and-two-thirds innings, allowing eight hits, three runs, one walk, and five strike outs on 97 pitches – 71 of which went for strikes.
Unfortunately for the Padres, Hudson was phenomenal from first pitch on on Wednesday. He threw eight-and-two-thirds innings on a mere 89 pitches, never throwing more than 12 pitches in an inning (third and eighth). He allowed just two runs, five hits, zero walks (again), and struck out five. Manager Bruce Bochy said his right-hander is putting on a clinic on the mound.
“If you had to watch a game and say ‘this is how you would wanna pitch’ I think tonight’s game would’ve been that because he kept the ball down, got his ground balls, tagged the hitters. I wanted him to get that complete game as bad as anybody, but he did such a nice job out there…Quite a job by him.”
He didn’t allow a run until the top of the eighth when Cameron Maybin led off with a double and eventually came come on a ground out by Alexi Amarista. Hudson was one strike away from a complete game before Yasmani Grandal launched a ball into McCovey Cove to give the Padres their second run – and final – run of the night.
For the month of April, Hudson went 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA, striking out 31 and walking only two. In his first season back after returning from a gruesome ankle injury, the right-hander feels good about where he’s at.
“I was determined coming into this year to prove something to myself, and a lot of people may not have thought that I could come back from that injury at 38-years-old. I feel pretty good about where I’m at and what I’ve been able to do this month. Obviously, it’s just the first month of the season, there’s a lot of season left, but I’m happy with how things went this month. Hopefully, I can keep things going into the next month and in the rest of the season.”
It’s safe to say the Giants are pretty happy with how things went this month, too.
San Francisco is off tomorrow, heading out on a ten-game road trip to Atlanta (Hudson’s former team), Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles.