Tim Hudson was incredible. He averaged only ten pitches an inning over eight innings during which he allowed one run amongst five hits. It was a stunning display of command over himself and control of an opponent’s lineup.
Thus, in the top of the 9th, with a 3-1 lead, Hudson faced the possibility of averaging ten pitches or less in a complete game. With the pitch count so low, Bruce Bochy left him in.
As Dave Flemming put it, on the radio, live: “Why not? He’s only thrown 80 pitches.”
Hudson quickly sat down the first two batters of the 9th on six pitches. Then he had a two strike count on the Padres Yasmani Grandal when he sent an 87mph cutter down the gut that Grandal timed perfectly, connected on wholly and sent into McCovey Cove – a solo shot. Hudson’s 89th pitch ended his night, one out shy of a CG.
That condemnable 30th Splash Hit by an Opponent was retrieved by kayaker Mark Busch:
I hope Mark’s dog rips that thing to shreds.
Because, as Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News tweeted it best:
“If Grandal swings through that last one, Hudson has himself an 89-pitch complete game.”
Sergio Romo came in to get the one-out save, his seventh, and this one was in the books as another outstanding performance by the SP who must be considered the Giants’ ace of 2014 thus far, Tim Hudson.
The Giants’ offense did score twice early. A Michael Morse double was plated by a Posey RBI in the first. Then in the second, The Giants made it 2-0 on a solo shot by the increasingly impressive Brandon Hicks.
Hicks’ homer was hit right handed, inside-out to deep RF – only Bonds ever did that kind of stuff at AT&T. It blew minds. But afterward, the Giants struggled to support Hudson at the plate.
Padres lefty Robbie Erlin settled down and he found a groove. Pitchers love our park and often play to our level of pitching competition. It’s an issue. It means we have to fight, scrap and hustle – with knowledge of our park they don’t have – to produce runs.
The Giants had RISP on three occasions and blew them all. The worst was a leadoff triple by Brandon Crawford in the 4th, when he was left stranded by a clunky, sputtering Giant offense. But in the previous inning the Giants had Morse and Belt on 2nd and 3rd with two out and could do nothing.
Luckily, Buster Posey singled in Arias (who had doubled in the 7th) to provide an insurance run that would prove to be necessary. Had Buster not hit that RBI late in the game, Grandal’s massive splash hit would’ve tied it up!
The Padres’ bullpen is decent and will fight in extra innings to steal wins. We could have easily been involved in a dog fight again on a night when Tim Hudson was throwing like Greg Maddux.
Point being, the Giants need to be more consistent about situational hitting with runners in scoring position. After Buster’s RBI single, with runners in the corners, Morse struck out, failing to get Pence home from third.
Team RISP: 3-for-11.
Team LOB: 7
ugh. Mark my words: whichever team – Dodgers, Giants or Colorado – plays smart, crisp baseball and hustles most for 50/50 games, will take the NL West. The SF Giants shot at being that team will depend on sacs, bunts, steals and hits with runners in scoring position.
On the bright side, as May begins, the Giants (17-11) lead the division by one and a half games over the Dodgers. On the road for our first two weeks of this month we face the Braves, Pirates and Dodgers next.
It’s time to tighten up the hitting in these batter-friendly parks and to continue hitting well against the nemesis in LA. I’d love to see us take 6 out of 9. Go Giants!
After Cody Ross and Fontenot in 2010 and Scutaro and Theriot in 2012, this looks like a pattern: Morse and Hudson in 2014. Hmm. “World Series Champions 2014,” has a nice ring to it.
(photo by McCovey Cove Dave @mccoveycovedave – whose sign they use for Opponents Splash Hits)