The only San Francisco Giants pitcher to lose over the past 2 1/2 weeks is Tim Hudson. The rotation has put together a brilliant run since that defeat, and now he could extend it by defeating the only team he’s never beaten – his original one.
Hudson’s first victory in his 40s could come against the Oakland Athletics if he can lift the Giants to their 11th win in 12 games and a three-game sweep of the Bay Area series Sunday at AT&T Park.
Impressive pitching has gotten San Francisco (53-44) on a roll, going 10-1 with a 2.50 ERA since July 10. The lone loss came Monday when Hudson, returning after missing nearly a month with a strained shoulder, needed 94 pitches in four-plus innings as he allowed three runs, five hits and four walks in a 4-2 defeat at San Diego.
"Once I get (on) the mound more, my fastball command will definitely come," he told MLB’s official website after throwing 16 of his 28 first-inning pitches for balls.
Since that game, starters Chris Heston, Matt Cain, Jake Peavy and Madison Bumgarner have all posted victories while yielding a combined five runs in 26 1-3 innings and holding opponents to a .176 average.
Hudson (5-8, 4.76 ERA), who turned 40 on July 14, is the only Giants starter who doesn’t have a win over the Athletics. When he beat Atlanta – his other former team – on May 29, that left Oakland as the last club he’s yet to beat.
A sixth-round draft pick of the A’s who won 92 games for them from 1999-2004, Hudson has a 9.58 ERA in two matchups against Oakland and lost both. The only one since 2008 came last July when he surrendered six runs in 5 1-3 innings in a 6-1 defeat.
As San Francisco has taken over the NL’s second wild-card spot, Oakland (44-55) is in the AL West basement after losing three straight while getting held to six runs.
Ben Zobrist, among the veterans the A’s may look to move before the trade deadline, has hit for the cycle through two games of this series while his teammates have accounted for just two doubles and eight singles.
Oakland is hitting .150 with runners in scoring position since the break after going 0 for 8 on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Bumgarner.
"We needed one big hit and never got it," manager Bob Melvin said.
The A’s will start Kendall Graveman (6-6, 3.78). Since going 3-2 with a 1.26 ERA over a six-start span, Graveman has stumbled to an 8.18 ERA while dropping his last two outings. He gave up six runs and a career-high three home runs over 5 1-3 innings in Tuesday’s 7-1 home loss to Toronto.
"I gotta be better hitting locations and move on from here and continue to grow from failure," Graveman said.
The rookie right-hander, 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA on the road, has never faced any Giants hitters. He has a 1.29 ERA in splitting his two interleague starts.
Buster Posey and Hunter Pence are among the most dangerous despite going hitless Saturday. Posey is still batting .463 with 10 RBIs in his last 10 games, and Pence is at .389 with eight RBIs in his past nine.
Teammate Joe Panik, meanwhile, had his fifth multihit effort in eight games since the All-Star break.