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Bats kept quiet in return to home confines

Hudson K's six over six innings against former team in his final tuneup

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SAN FRANCISCO -- In a game that featured two prized free-agent pitchers going head to head, the A's handed the Giants a 4-0 loss on Thursday night at AT&T Park to kick off the three-game exhibition Bay Bridge Series.

Southpaw Scott Kazmir showed why the A's inked him to a two-year, $22 million deal this offseason, shutting out the Giants for 5 1/3 innings. He allowed two hits and three walks while striking out four, bringing his spring ERA to 1.62 and WHIP to 0.90 in four starts.

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Aside from the sixth-inning double he surrendered to Hunter Pence, Kazmir didn't allow a runner into scoring position all night. The 30-year-old lefty was pleased with his effort.

"I'm ready," Kazmir said after his final spring tuneup. "I feel comfortable with all my pitches. Threw a lot of offspeed just to get a good feel for them all and had a lot of quality ones."

Kazmir outdueled veteran righty Tim Hudson, who signed a two-year, $23 million deal this offseason after receiving strong overtures from Oakland, where he played the first six years of his career.

The A's were able to capitalize on a couple of missed pitches by Hudson and hit him hard, highlighted by a some notable extra-base knocks. Hudson finished six innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six.

"All in all, I felt OK," Hudson said. "Made some pitches when I needed to sometimes. But also, got ahead in the count some and didn't finish some guys off when I was ahead of them. Those are things that'll hopefully come this season."

Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson got the offense started by lacing a double down the left-field line to score Coco Crisp from first base. An inning later, Hudson was burned by poor defense from new Giants left fielder Michael Morse, who dived and allowed a low liner from Donaldson to roll past him and to the wall, letting Eric Sogard score on a triple.

Josh Reddick delivered the hit that opened the game up, drilling a two-run shot to right field in the sixth inning to give the A's a 4-0 lead.

Hudson, who suffered a brutal ankle injury July 25 while trying to cover first base on a ground ball, acknowledged that he isn't quite at the same level he was prior to his injury. The 16th-year veteran noted that his offspeed pitch location isn't where he wants it to be yet.

"I'm still a little bit a ways [off]," Hudson said. "I feel like I'm close enough where I can go out there and compete and give us a really good chance to win from here on out. Hopefully I can continue to get a little bit stronger as the season progresses."

Still, Hudson said he's looking forward to this season at AT&T Park, which he labeled a "great place to pitch."

In a bit of baseball poetry, Hudson now occupies the locker that used to belong to former Giant Barry Zito, the eccentric left-hander who pitched with Hudson in Oakland as part of "The Big 3" with Mark Mulder in the early 2000s.

"I'm kind of nervous about what I'm going to find in this locker. Honestly," Hudson said. "Waiting for something to come crawling out sooner or later. I need to sanitize it a little bit."

The two teams will continue the preseason series Friday night in San Francisco and with a Saturday matinee in Oakland, before the regular season gets started Monday.

Up next: Right-hander Tim Linceum will make his final spring tuneup Friday against the A's at AT&T Park. He has posted a 6.52 ERA over five starts (19 1/3 innings) this spring. The game can be seen live on a free test drive of MLB.TV at 7:15 p.m. PT.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to

San Francisco Giants, Tim Hudson, Hunter Pence