By DANIEL DULLUM
Sports Radio Service
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Tim Hudson looked like his old self on Wednesday night, the one that anchored a pitching staff on the East Bay years ago.
The 38-year-old San Francisco righthander handcuffed Arizona batters for nearly eight innings as the Giants blanked the Diamondbacks 2-0.
“It was just one of those nights where everything fell into place,” Hudson said. “I was able to make some good pitches, kept my pitch count down and threw a lot of strikes. If you can do that, you can go deep into games.”
Hudson (1-0), who signed a two-year contract with San Francisco after leaving the Atlanta Braves via free agency, scattered three hits, struck out seven and issued no walks in 7 2/3 scoreless innings.
“Before the game? No! I didn’t expect to go that far,” said the former Oakland A’s ace. “I don’t think I’d pitched past the sixth inning yet this spring. But you know what? It was a fun night. I controlled the bottom of the strike zone, made some pitches, guys made some great plays behind me, Buster (Posey) called a great game.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy couldn’t have been happier to see Hudson work into the eighth in his first start of the season.
“That, and to have that good of command of the strike zone, that was impressive,” Bochy said. “He pitched very efficiently, had all four pitches going and did a great job of pitching.”
Hudson said he felt “pretty good” in the pregame bullpen session. “Obviously, you never know what will happen, but I felt good early and I was able to get into a groove.”
If there was any nervousness after not pitching in a regular season game since last July 24, Hudson didn’t let it show.
“You get anxious, I don’t know if you’d call it butterflies,” Hudson said. “You get anxious to get back out there. I was just happy to get out there and compete again. It’s been a little bit of a long road to get here, but it felt nice to be back out there and get a chance to win.”
On pitching at Chase Field, Hudson said, “For a lot of sinkerballers, this is a park where you can have some success. It’s a great hitters park, so it’s very important to keep the ball down and try to own the bottom of the strike zone here. If not, some crooked numbers can show up on the board.”
Last season, while pitching for the Braves, Hudson was covering first base when Eric Young Jr. of the New York Mets accidentally stepped on his leg above the ankle trying to beat out a throw. Hudson wound up with a fractured fibula and torn deltoid ligament – both surgically repaired last July – forcing him the miss the remainder of the season.
During his rehabilitation process, Hudson became a free agent and signed a two-year contract with the Giants. And if there were any lingering after effects from the broken ankle, it didn’t show. Hudson retired the first nine hitters he faced until Gerrardo Parra singled to open the D-Backs fourth inning. He left with two out in the eighth after throwing 103 pitches.
“After my surgery, I realized that coming back was a strong possibility,” Hudson said. “I started feeling better, feeling like I could do it, and here I am.
“It’s exciting. You never know how things work out and what opportunities are going to represent themselves.”
San Francisco took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Ehire Adrianza walked, was sacrificed to second by Hudson and scored on a single by Angel Pagan. The Giants made it 2-0 in the sixth on a RBI double by Michael Morse, scoring Hunter Pence, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
After Javier Lopez snuffed out a potential Snakes rally in the eighth, Sergio Romo threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning – including a strikeout of Paul Goldschmidt – to earn his second save in three games.
Pagan and Posey each had two hits for the Giants.
Trevor Cahill (0-2) went six innings and gave up both San Francisco runs on four hits. Parra had two of the three hits off Hudson.
Goldschmidt led off the seventh inning with a double, extending his hitting streak to 24 games. The streak began on Sept. 13, 2013.
In Thursday’s getaway game, the Giants go with Tim Lincecum against Arizona’s Brandon Arroyo in a battle of righthanders. First pitch is scheduled for 12:40 Arizona/Pacific Time.
(TAGS: San Francisco Giants,Tim Hudson,Sports Radio Service,Arizona Diamondbacks)