What began as story of Tim Hudson’s first errant start ended with a team taking advantage of opportunities and picking up its starter as the San Francisco Giants beat the New York Mets in a 5-4 walkoff win.
Tim Hudson was the first to admit he didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday night, as a quick line drive into his glove would be the quickest out over the next five innings. The right hander struggled from then on, throwing 23 pitches in the first and facing runners in scoring position each inning.
“I was definitely a little bit out of sync, so I probably rushing it a tad, especially when runners were on base. They did a good job of getting me in the stretch early,” said Hudson.
A second-inning error from Brandon Crawford contributed to the Mets’ first run crossing the plate, then three singles and a double put two more on the board in the third. The bottom of the Mets’ lineup gave Hudson trouble, as Ruben Tejada went 0-for-4 yet reached base three times, and Anthony Recker finished his game 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI.
“You’re not always going to have good stuff,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “It’s all about competing when you don’t, and he did a great job to keep us in the ballgame and give us the chance for that great comeback tonight.”
Hudson added, “It was a battle. I think the line pretty much says it all. They had a good game plan, battled the whole game and definitely didn’t make it easy on me.”
Hudson’s five innings marked the shortest outing of his season: a three-run, nine hit start with five strikeouts. His three walks are a season-high and the most since his final 2013 start on July 24. Hudson raised his ERA to 1.97, which is still tied for second in the league.
“It didn’t look good, but the kind of at-bats they were having…I feel pretty good about only giving up three,” said Hudson. “You gotta tip your hat to them, give credit where credit was due. It could have been worse. Luckily it wasn’t.”
The Giants’ offense was able to string together just enough hits to fight back, in spite of leaving eleven runners on base. They recorded just one run after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth inning, when Posey hit into a double play to score pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco. After George Kontos allowed a run in the top of the sixth, San Francisco rallied again in bottom of the inning, when a single, a throwing error from David Wright and a walk loaded the bases. Angel Pagan knocked in Crawford and Brandon Hicks to bring the Giants within one run.
Those two runs continued the Giants’ two-out scoring trend, improving their league-best 125 runs in that situation. San Francisco has scored nearly half their runs with two down, and rank only behind the Miami Marlins with two-out runners in scoring position.
“We’ve been doing it all year. We fight until the last out,” said Michael Morse.
On San Francisco’s Super Hero and Comic Book Night, several guys played hero in the bottom of the ninth. Pagan struck out but hustled down the line and beat the throw to first base to put one on for Hunter Pence.
“Pagan came right out of the box hustling. That’s something a lot of guys – I’m one of them – I strike out like that and I’m upset with myself. He got on base, and that was a big turning point,” said Morse.
Pence’s double to left was enough to score Pagan from first. The hustle continued as Pence advanced to third after Posey’s fly out to left field, which put him in excellent positioning with one out.
“Pence is not just a fast baserunner. He’s a very smart baserunner, and he plays the game the way it should be played,” said Bochy.
From there, the Mets’ Jenrry Mejia intentionally walked Pablo Sandoval to get to Morse, who promply hit one into Triples Alley to give the Giants a walk-off win and Morse’s own first celebration of the sort.
“It’s awesome, that kind of feeling. It’s the first time I’ve had that opportunity with this ballclub,” said Morse.
In a game where the Giants’ most reliable pitcher had an off-night, this win seemed to mean a bit more to several of the players. Production from up and down the lineup helped San Francisco walk off in the ninth, and Hudson was happy to be a part of it.
“I’m as proud of this game as I have been of any of them, even though it was probably my worst game from a pitching standpoint,” he said. “These kind of games are very satisfying because these are the games that most of the time your teams lose. They were able to battle and win, and that’s the mark of a championship club.”
Tomorrow the Giants and Mets will meet once more at AT&T Park for an afternoon ending to this weekend series. Tim Lincecum will face former Giants’ prospect Zach Wheeler, who has improved his ERA by a run over his last three starts. He’s had a 1.37 ERA over his last 19 2/3 inning, striking out 23 and walking just three in that time. Lincecum is coming off a rough four-inning outing in Cincinnati, where he gave up eight runs on six hits and three walks.
First pitch at 1:05pm.