Giants sweep A’s behind Hudson milestone

By age 39, Tim Hudson had beaten 29 MLB teams.

Two weeks into 40, he got ’em all.

The 30th was a big one; Hudson finally beat the A’s, the team the drafted him a mere 17 years ago. He had two chances before: The first in a  5-4 loss with the Braves in 2008. The second was just last year, when Oakland took the dominant 6-1 win and Hudson, the loss.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the Giants clubhouse.

Hudson played down his milestone:

“I’m not sure if you could say it’s on my bucket list, but it is pretty cool thing to say that you’ve done … I’ve been fortunate to play on some good teams … I’ve had a long career, that’s pretty much what it boils down to.”

His manager didn’t even know about the possible achievement:

“That’s nice. I didn’t know it. I didn’t realize it until before the game when you guys told me but it’s a big deal. Tells you about him, his stuff, his longevity and I guess he checked this box off.”

This win almost slipped away; The Giants edged out a 4-3 win over Oakland on Sunday afternoon, their seventh sweep on the season, despite a short, spotty outing from Hudson.

Hudson (W, 6-8, 4.80 ERA) lasted five innings, but couldn’t ice an early lead.

The Giants’ bats punished A’s starter Kendall Graveman (L, 6-7, 4.13 ERA) in the first with a three-run, four-hit, two-walk inning highlighted by Matt Duffy‘s two-run bomb to left field, his ninth on the season.

Duffy struck again in the second, plopping an RBI single to right and scoring Angel Pagan, who got the leadoff single. Duffy is showing everyone he is not to be messed with. He’s always a threat, ready to churn out hits and capitalize on home run-worthy mistakes. He also moved two home runs over Joe Panik (7) in the Tortoise Race, and Duffy commented:

“(Panik) is a good hitter and that’s not really our approach to hit balls over the fence. If I’m trying to do it, usually I get out. Never really trying to do it. Whatever happens, happens. If the ball gets left up a little bit and goes over the fence, then so be it.”

The Giants have won 11 of their last 12 games. Duffy has hit .389 in those games.

The Giants had the 4-0 lead by the second inning and Graveman departed, marking the worst start of his short career. His 37-pitch first didn’t exactly set him up for a long day.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Buster Posey kept the offense churning with his first four-hit game this season. Behind the dish he caught Ben Zobrist stealing second in the first. And in the ninth with one out, Jake Smolinski, the tying run, was probably thinking sac fly when he attempted to steal third with one out. Posey was having none of it and gunned him down. Bochy was impressed:

“He had a great game. First (steal) I thought (Zobrist) had a great jump, didn’t know if he had a chance but really got out of the chute well and threw a bullet on the money there … What a game he had today.”

It was looking like a clean get away for Hudson and the crew behind him — The Giants’ hot bats would get this one for ol’ Huddy — but it almost wasn’t so.

Josh Reddick led off the second with a clean double to left and advanced to third on an Ike Davis ground out. A wild pitch sent him home and put the A’s on the board.

They added two more in the fourth when Ben Zobrist — the most effective A’s hitter this series, 6-for-11 with two runs —got a one-out single and moved to third on a Davis ground-rule double. Brett Lawrie sent him home with a hit and Billy Butler cut Oakland’s deficit to one with a big bloop RBI single to score Davis.

Hudson left the last four innings, the fate of his 30th, to the now-reliable bullpen.

Jeremy Affeldt, George Kontos and Javier Lopez kept the sixth, seventh and eighth stress free. Javier Lopez even put down his first sac bunt since 2004.  but Santiago Casilla brought the drama.

He started the ninth with a walk to Smolinski and a Lawrie hit. He turned it around, striking out Josh Phegley, Buster Posey caught Smolinski for the second out and Casilla ended it with a swinging strikeout to Marcus Semien.

Bochy was nervous for Casilla:

“I’m happy he’s getting out of it, but I’d like to see it get a little easier.”

And with that threat calmed, Huddy became the 15th pitcher in MLB history to defeat all 30 teams. He joins the likes of former teammate Barry Zito, recent Hall of Fame inductee Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

Asked if pitching has gotten any easier over the years:

“No. Still hard.”

Notes

Nori Aoki went 2-for-3 last night with the Sacramento River Cats. He’s expected to join the Giants in Monday’s series starter against the Milwaukee Brewers. … The win Sunday was the 220th of Tim Hudson‘s 17-year MLB career, more than either Pedro Martinez (219) or John Smoltz (213), both inducted Sunday to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


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