PHOENIX — Tim Hudson was good against the D-backs as an Oakland Athletic and good against them as an Atlanta Brave. As a San Francisco Giant, nothing had changed Wednesday night.
Making his debut for the Giants and his first start since being carted off the field with an ankle injury last July, Hudson shut down the D-backs, who mustered just three hits — two of them from Gerardo Parra — in a 2-0 loss at Chase Field.
"Hudson was good — really good," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He’s got great movement and great control of both sides of the plate, so he made it tough on us.
"He threw a great game against us tonight. You’ve gotta tip your hat to him."
Hudson’s final line: 7 2/3 innings pitched, three hits, no runs, no walks, seven strikeouts. Not bad for a 38-year-old coming off a difficult rehab.
"It’s been a long road he’s been down," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It has to be rewarding to him to go out and pitch like that and get us a win."
Hudson’s success against the D-backs, especially at Chase Field, doesn’t come as much of a surprise. He’s been good here since allowing just three hits in 8 1/3 scoreless innings against the D-backs as a rookie with the A’s on July 10, 1999 to earn his fifth career win in his seventh big league start.
The sample size is a little small given that Hudson spent his first six seasons in the American League and the next nine in the NL East, but in six previous starts at Chase Field, Hudson was 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA. Make that 5-1 and 1.59. Against the D-backs anywhere, Hudson was 7-1 in 11 starts with a 2.18 ERA.
"Hudson’s always been good against us," Gibson said. "He throws a lot of strikes, keeps it down, stays ahead of you. First time through he threw a first-pitch strike to everybody but two I think, then you start swinging at the first pitch and he’s one step ahead of you."
D-backs outfielder Tony Campana, who had probably the hardest hit ball of the night that found Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco quickly, confirmed Gibson’s take: Hudson had the D-backs beat one pitch into most at bats.
"He got ahead of a lot of guys so he could kind of pick at us," Campana said. "He was hitting his spots pretty much all night with all of his pitches. That makes him pretty tough."
Other than Parra, only first baseman Paul Goldschmidt reached base on a hit, doubling in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 24 games.
The D-backs knew what they were in for against Hudson and paid no mind to any effect the injury layoff might have had.
"We talked about it before the game," second baseman Aaron Hill said. "You don’t want to give a pitcher too much credit before a game, but this year our thing is not giving away any at-bats. I thought we did fine. Obviously we didn’t get any hits, but we stuck to the approach and he just made his pitches."
Hudson’s dominance made D-backs starter Trevor Cahill a loser on a night he allowed just two runs on four hits in six solid innings.
With Hudson now in the NL West, the D-backs are sure to see a lot more of him than they have the past 15 seasons. After Wednesday’s game, that’s probably not a welcome sight.
"It was a fun night," Hudson said. "I was able to control the bottom of the strike zone, guys made some great plays behind me. It was one of those nights where everything fell into place."
The Giants scored their second run in the sixth inning when Mike Morse lined a ball hard to center. The ball appeared catchable for Tony Campana but wound up just out of reach after Campana broke in a step before going back. "As soon as I took one step in, that was all she wrote pretty much," Campana said. "It caught a little leather. That makes it hurt a little bit worse."
STAT OF THE GAME
17 — D-backs outs through their first 18 batters. Only Gerardo Parra reached based before Paul Goldschmidt’s seventh-inning double.
— D-backs reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith made his first big league appearance since Oct. 2, 2010 (with the Mariners). The lefty Rowland-Smith traveled with the D-backs to his native Australia for two games against the Dodgers but was not active. He allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless ninth Wednesday.
— Paul Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 24 games with a double in the seventh inning. He’s now tied with Tony Womack (2000) for the second-longest hitting streak in franchise history and six games behind Luis Gonzalez’s 30-game streak (1999).
— D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed will alternate between second base and shortstop with Triple-A Reno. "I just think they’re both shortstops and they can’t both play shortstop every day," Gibson said. "It will do them good to work around the bag from both sides."
— Gibson said Daniel Hudson, who’s rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery in two years, looked "awesome" in bullpen session off the mound Tuesday. He could be back in June or July, and Gibson said Hudson would return as a reliever.
Outfielder Cody Ross leaves Thursday for a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno. He is expected to be with the Aces for at least eight games before the D-backs evaluate whether he’s ready to come off the disabled list.