SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Hudson grabbed an ice cream sandwich after the game. It might have been for his son, but everyone in the Giants clubhouse should have followed suit, because the 38-year old's routine is working just as well this year as it was in 1999 when he went 11-2 for the A's as a rookie -- maybe better.
Hudson authored another seven innings without an earned run in Thursday's 7-1 win over the Nationals, which kept the sellout crowd from having to witness the first ever four-game home sweep at AT&T Park since it opened in 2000.
[RECAP: Giants 7, Nationals 1]
"It starts with your starting pitcher," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He set a great tone."
He also set his season ERA at an MLB-best 1.81 through 13 starts, and there is no precedent for what Hudson is doing. The only other two pitchers in MLB history to post a sub-2.00 ERA through their first 12 starts with a new club were Art Nehf in 1919 and Bill Voiselle from 1942-'44.
"You could tell Huddy had it right off the bat," said Tyler Colvin, whose RBI triple in the second marked the first time this series the Giants scored first.
Batting sixth, Colvin was one of four Giants with multi-hit games, joining two-hitter Hunter Pence, five-hitter Michael Morse and seven-hitter Brandon Crawford to go a combined 10-for-13 with six runs scored.
"That's been our thing all year -- we have guys one through eight," Hudson said. "It's comforting to know that any inning we could go out and score two or three runs."
On this day, they got particularly impressive performances from their second and fifth hitters. Pence reached base in all five plate appearances, collecting three singles and two walks. And Morse began his day with three consecutive singles.
An exercise in rising above led to a pregame moment of motivation for the two.
After Morse -- who was 3-for-10 with no runs or RBI in the first three games against his former club -- was offended by an article in The Washington Times that mocked him for being "dumb," he went to Pence with renewed resolve.
"He said he wasn't going to let (the article) bother him," Pence said. "Before the game, he was extremely positive. He even came up to me and said, 'I've been positive all night, positive all day. Let's go have some fun.'"
The fun started with Morse's single in the second, and -- thanks in large part to Hudson -- it didn't stop.
Don't call the 2014 Giants misfits, but one might go with the endearing term Hudson used to describe his clubhouse on Thursday: "We've got a bunch of goofballs in here."
If goofballs can close torturous games with magic and play October ball like the misfits of 2012 -- and Hudson continues to draw from the fountain of youth -- there just might be a few more celebratory ice cream sandwiches in store for the team boasting baseball's best record.