Hudson helps Giants keep pace with Dodgers

Tim Hudson returned from injury last week to snag a surprising win — his first since a July start against the A’s.

After giving up one run to the Diamondbacks in Arizona over six innings, he immediately announced he would, for sure, be retiring after this season. It’s senior Spring (or, Fall) for Huddy: Pedal to the medal, throwing full gas in the last three or four starts of his 17-year, 475-start career.

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

Or, maybe not. The guy’s 40, so a go-big ending isn’t really in the cards for Huddy, who’s hip started hurting around the second inning of his start against the last-place Cincinnati Reds on Monday night:

“I got an old tricky hip, basically what it is. … I was able to just go out there and deal with it.”

Huddy pitched just a few outs shy of what could have been his 222nd career win before Javier Lopez had to relieve him in the Giants’ 5-3 win over the Reds.

The team’s playoff hopes — despite some boisterous offense — are dwindling, and so is Hudson’s career. It’s weird to put these final weeks of a championship-defending season into perspective, but one bittersweet angle is that Hudson’s spending his final Major League days with this team, said Bochy:

“Last game was a little emotional for these guys. With the game he had in Arizona, he hadn’t pitched in a while … he’s just been a pleasure … In this game you’re fortunate to spend time with certain players and he’s one of them.”

Huddy said last year’s championship has eased the transition, but he’s got his eye on the end line:

“I see the finish line, i see it coming. It’s fine, come on, I’m ready for it.”

But his aging arm was deceiving; the 4-1/3 innings he pitched were clean and efficient. he dished just 52 pitches before the load got too heavy.

He gave up a one-out double to Ramon Cabrera — who was 4-for-4 on the night — and a single to pinch hitter Jason Bourgeois to put runners on the corners. Huddy issued a tough walk to speedy Billy Hamilton and he needed a break with power lefties Jay Bruce and Joey Votto coming up, said Bruce Bochy:

“Was hoping to get him through that fifth… but (his hip) was barking pretty good.”

He gave up three hits, including two in that fifth, on the night with no chance at a win.

Javier Lopez took over with the bases juiced hoping to preserve the shutout for Huddy. The defense chatted on the mound, and Brandon Belt made the call:

“I said if it’s to my backhand, I’m probably gonna come home with it.”

Bruce sliced one to Brandon Belt’s right, who fired it home to force Cabrera out. Said Bochy of the play:

“He surprised us all of us going home with a perfect throw…He’s on the run there and put the throw right on the money.”

But Lopez still had to face Votto, who took three balls and watched the fourth, clearly a strike, cross the plate for a called ball four. Bourgeois trotted home and etched Huddy’s lone earned run of the night.

The offense, which outscored their opponents 32-7 so far this home stand, secured the win early with a two-run first and two-run third.

Angel Pagan started off the first with a bloop single to left and Alejandro De Aza pushed him to second thanks to a Eugenio Suarez error. Matt Duffy punished a hanger the opposite way for a base-clearing double and a 2-0 lead.

Duffy struck again in the third with a one-out double, before Brandon Belt sent a two-out RBI triple into the alley to score Duffy easily. Marlon Byrd kept it going with an RBI double off the Levi’s Landing wall to score Belt easily from third.

Duffy went 2-for-4 on the night with two RBI. Bochy commended his third baseman, who seems perpetually in the Rookie of the Year mix:

“He hasn’t had a day off in 90-something games, maybe more I’m not sure, he goes out there and looks the same every day. You’d think he’d show some wear and tear at this point and had a bad ankle for a few days and played through that.”

The Giants win looked set until Jay Bruce took Josh Osich deep for a two-run shot and cut the Reds’ deficit to one run. San Francisco answered with a Belt sacrifice fly to score Duffy, who advanced to third on an error and Buster Posey sacrifice ground ball.

Notes

Not a sure thing yet, but Bruce Bochy said before today’s game that Joe Panik will have an MRI on his back. He may join Hunter Pence, Nori Aoki and Gregor Blanco on the list of probable no-shows for the rest of the season. … The Dodgers beat Arizona Monday night, so the standings in the NL West are frozen at a 7-1/2 game lead. The Cubs didn’t play today, so San Francisco gains a half-game in the Wild Card race.


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