SAN FRANCISCO – Tim Hudson pitched the homestand finale Wednesday night, so he won’t face the Braves this weekend in Atlanta.
Here's guessing the Braves are probably all right with that.
Hudson has been more than the mid-rotation addition the Giants hoped they’d get when they signed him to a two-year contract this winter. He’s been Greg Maddux redux.
Hudson came within a strike of an 89-pitch complete game, which would have been his first in two seasons. Instead the Padres’ Yasmani Grandal put a pitch into the cove, and Sergio Romo was summoned to put the final touch on the Giants’ 3-2 victory at AT&T Park.
The Giants won two of three in the series and finished April with a 17-11 record. That’s remarkable, since the rotation only compiled seven wins all month – and Hudson owns four of them.
Without Hudson, along with a terrific bullpen that has been the most consistent unit on the club, there’s no way the Giants win 17 games before May 21 for the first time since 2003. They won 100 that year, if you’ve forgotten.
Starting pitching report
Hudson entered the game throwing an NL-low 12.6 pitches per inning. He nudged that average a bit lower as the Giants raced back to the dugout almost immediately after taking the field each inning.
Hudson threw eight, 10, 12, 10, 11, nine, nine and 12 pitches through the first eight innings. The only run he allowed over that span came in the eighth, when Cameron Maybin hit a leadoff double and scored on a ground out.
His eighth pitch of the ninth inning was a 1-2 cutter to Grandal that ended up in the drink, and with the lead cut to one run, Bruce Bochy had to make the move to his closer.
Hudson finished April with a 4-1 record, a 2.17 ERA and a 31-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 45.2 innings.
Romo threw five pitches, got Chris Denorfia to ground out and recorded his seventh save in seven tries.
At the plate
The Giants improved to 12-1 when they score first, and Team #LaserSwag provided the run in the first inning. Hunter Pence singled, stole second base and Michael Morse sent a fly ball to right field that smacked off the bricks for a double.
Morse finished April with 20 RBIs, becoming the fourth Giant in the last 10 years to reach that mark. He joins Pablo Sandoval (22 in 2013), Moises Alou (24 in 2006) and Pedro Feliz (22 in 2005).
On a warm night, especially in the early innings, the ball was carrying to right field. Brandon Hicks, hitting as high as sixth in the order for the first time as a Giant, hit a rare right-handed homer into the arcade to start the second inning.
The Brandons kept hitting – Mr. Belt blooped a double in the third inning and Mr. Crawford led off the fourth with an electrifying triple – but the Giants couldn’t score again while left-hander Robbie Erlin was in the game.
Hicks struck out to strand two in the third inning and Crawford’s triple was wasted when Joaquin Arias flied out to shallow center field, Hudson struck out looking and Juan Perez struck out swinging.
The Giants made it 3-0 in the seventh, though. Arias started a rally when he singled to lead off the inning, Hudson put down a sacrifice bunt and Pence greeted right-hander Dale Thayer with a two-out single to put runners at the corners. Buster Posey followed by bouncing his RBI single up the middle.
This is for certain: The Giants position players can’t complain about sore feet from standing around all night.
The Giants announced 42,164 paid. If you stood in a beer line, you missed half the game. That’s why Hudson encourages you to double-fist it.
The Giants travel on Thursday and begin their 10-game road trip along with a three-game series at Atlanta’s Turner Field on Friday. Tim Lincecum (1-1, 5.96 ERA) takes the mound against Braves left-hander Mike Minor, who is making his season debut. First pitch is scheduled for 4:35 p.m. PDT. It’ll be Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 5.40) against right-hander Julio Teheran (2-1, 1.47) on Saturday and Madison Bumgarner (2-3, 3.74) against left-hander Alex Wood (2-4, 2.93) on Sunday.