SAN FRANCISCO – The recent chatter about the Giants is that they have the NL’s best record, but no obvious All-Star on their roster.
Meet Tim Hudson, everyone.
The 38-year-old right-hander is a three-time All-Star, having last appeared in 2010. But he’s never begun a season like this before. Hudson scattered six hits over seven shutout innings and Pablo Sandoval extended his RBI streak to seven games as the Giants took a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night at AT&T Park.
Hudson is the first Giants pitcher with a sub-2 ERA through 10 starts since Dave LaPoint in 1985.
Starting pitching report
Hudson (5-2) has a 1.97 ERA through 10 starts and showed very little sign of the strained left hip that caused him to miss a turn 10 days ago.
It was a typical Hudson start. He pumped strikes at the knees, worked quickly and got the Giants back into the dugout with minimal delay. Hudson only faced one significant jam in the fourth, but he got Luis Valbuena to pop up and he struck out Wellington Castillo to strand two runners.
The Cubs only advanced one runner into scoring position over his seven innings.
Hudson struck out five and has a 44/6 strikeout to walk ratio in 70.1 innings. The Giants are also 5-0 in his starts at AT&T Park. In fact, counting last year with the Braves, he hasn’t lost a home start since 2012.
Jeremy Affeldt and Jean Machi combined to strike out three in two perfect innings.
At the plate
The Giants improved to 25-5 when they score first, and they used guile and speed in a two-run first inning instead of the brute force that has been their offensive trademark this season.
Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence made things happen with their speed. Pagan singled, he took off for second base and Pence slapped a hit into the area that second baseman Luis Valbuena had just vacated in order to cover the bag. Pagan hustled to third on the hit, then Pence stole second base.
Pagan scored on Buster Posey’s sacrifice fly and Pence daringly tried to tag up. The current Giants right fielder tested (and bested) the formidable arm of former Giants right fielder Nate Schierholtz.
Michael Morse followed with a good-luck single that deflected off pitcher Jake Arrieta’s glove to score Pence.
The Giants used their legs to score two more runs in the fifth. Ehire Adrianza singled and recorded the first stolen base of his career. Then Pagan reached on an infield single and promptly stole second base as well. The Giants clearly didn’t think much of Cubs catcher Wellington Castillo, who has allowed an NL-most 31 stolen bases while catching just five.
Posey followed with a sacrifice fly and Sandoval blooped a “when you’re hot, you’re hot” single tthat scored Pagan and extended the Panda’s streak to seven games with an RBI.
One more and Sandoval would have the longest RBI streak by a Giant since J.T. Snow in 2003. The franchise record is 11, held by Mel Ott, and the San Francisco-era record of 10 is held by Matt Williams and Jeff Kent.
Both teams played a clean sheet. No errors or yellow cards.
The Giants announced 41,060 paid – their smallest crowd of the year, yet determined an official sellout* to keep their streak going.
The Giants and Cubs wrap up their three-game series Wednesday at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum (4-3, 4.55 ERA) takes the mound against Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson (3-4, 4.94). First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. PDT.