SAN DIEGO – Tim Hudson has thrown 30 innings without walking a batter. No Giants starting pitcher in franchise history has ever begun a season that way.
This lack of charity extends to other areas, though.
The Giants offense isn't receiving any. Instead, they were one Michael Morse blast away from getting shut out by Eric Stults and three relievers in a 3-1 loss to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Saturday.
It’s not just about Pablo Sandoval anymore. Buster Posey is in a 1-for-24 funk and even argued a called third strike. Hunter Pence has three RBIs, which is half as many as Sandoval has.
The Giants have scored just three runs in their last 28 innings and five in their past 35. They haven’t driven in a baserunner in two games here, since both their runs have come on solo homers.
Getting shut down by up-and-coming right-hander Tyson Ross on Friday was one thing. Getting locked down by Stults, a pitcher so pedestrian he has his own personal crossing guard, is another.
The Giants will have to solve the enigma that is Robbie Erlin to avoid being swept on Sunday.
Starting pitching report
Hudson held the Padres to two runs on eight hits – and no walks -- in seven innings. Despite having a base open with two outs on two occasions, including once with the pitcher on deck, Hudson continued to throw strikes and trust both his stuff and the defenders behind him.
He set a franchise record in the fifth when he recorded his 28th inning without a walk to start the season. And he’s the first pitcher in 70 years, and just the third pitcher in at least the past 101 seasons, to begin a season with four starts of at least seven innings without walking a batter. Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander (in 1923) and Tiny Bonham (in 1944) also accomplished the feat.
But Hudson also was a bit more hittable than his previous three starts. In addition to the season high eight hits allowed, he benefited from two lineouts – including one double-play liner – to escape innings with runners in scoring position.
The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Seth Smith hit a leadoff signled, advanced on a ground out and scored on Yonder Alonso’s single to right field.
After Morse hit his equalizer in the fifth, Hudson couldn’t preserve the tie in the bottom of the inning. Alexi Amarista beat out an infield single, took second base on Hudson’s errant pickoff throw and advanced to third on a sacrifice.
Hudson fell behind 2-0 on Cabrera before paying for a pitch over the plate that the speedy leadoff man whacked into the right-center gap. Angel Pagan had no chance to cut it off as Cabrera tripled without a throw.
Confronted with an identical runner-on-third, one-out situation, Hudson was able to escape the second time thanks to Brandon Belt. The first baseman wasn’t distracted by Will Venable’s bat shards as he scooped up a hard grounder and threw without hesitation to the plate, where Posey applied a smooth tag on Cabrera.
Hudson, who also got his first hit as a Giant with a single in the sixth, was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth.
Venable hit a leadoff double in the eighth off David Huff and the Padres executed a squeeze on Jean Machi to tack on a run in the eighth.
That insurance run served to snap the Giants’ streak of one-run games at eight.
At the plate
Morse’s third home run was a deep drive to center field. The Giants managed just three other hits, and Hudson had one of them.
The way things are going, the Giants need to take advantage of any break. They got one in the sixth, after Cabrera bobbled a potential double-play grounder and only got the force at second base. But Pence followed by striking out.
Then Posey, Morse and Sandoval struck out in the seventh.
Posey hit the ball hard in his first two at-bats, but struck out in his final two trips. Remmeber when he hit .244 in the second half last season? He’s hitting .237 now.
Amarista made a diving stop to take a bloop hit away from Pence in the first inning. Venable made a nice catch to take a hit away from Pence in the ninth.
The Padres announced 43,405 paid. It was a sellout crowd.
The Giants and Padres conclude their three-game series at Petco Park on Sunday. Tim Lincecum (0-1, 7.20 ERA) takes the mound against Padres left-hander Robbie Erlin (1-1, 3.18). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PDT.