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Cubs' offense unable to figure out Hudson

Arrieta delivers uneven outing, allowing four runs over six frames

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' hits were in the right place at the right time to help Tim Hudson.

Manager Rick Renteria tried to give the Cubs an edge against Hudson by starting Justin Ruggiano and Emilio Bonifacio, who both had some success against the Giants' right-hander. But Hudson had the home-field advantage.

Buster Posey drove in two runs to lift the West Division-leading Giants to a 4-0 victory Tuesday over the Cubs, who couldn't muster much against San Francisco's 38-year-old starter.

"You've got to tip your hat to him," Renteria said of Hudson.

In five starts at home, Hudson is now 4-0, and the Giants are 5-0. He gave up six hits over seven scoreless innings, did not walk a batter, and struck out five.

"My timing was a little bit off at times," Hudson said, "but I got away with some pitches that they could have done a little bit of damage with."

"He's always good," Cubs starter Jake Arrieta said of Hudson. "He's been doing it for 12 or 13, maybe 14 years now, and you know what you're going to get. That's why he's still pitching at such a high level. He's a buzz saw."

It's the eighth time in 10 starts that Hudson has gone at least seven innings, and he lowered his ERA to 1.92. Hudson retired the first eight batters he faced, and Arrieta notched the Cubs' first hit when he singled with two outs in the third.

"What's tough about [Hudson] is he kept everything down," Chicago's Mike Olt said. "He wanted us to get ourselves out and did a good job staying down in the zone and getting some ground balls in big outs when he needed it."

Arrieta was making his fifth start since coming off the disabled list, and matched his season high with 94 pitches. He wasn't hit hard; the Giants' hits were simply well placed.

"I was talking to one of the guys and feel those were the four softest runs you'll see," Arrieta said. "They have a very professional, fundamentally sound ballclub that knows when and where to apply pressure. Their approach is very sound. They're a lot of tough outs. There's really no break in the lineup until you get to the nine spot. It was a tough game. They were able to nickel and dime us there."

Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence each singled to open the Giants' first, and Posey hit a sacrifice fly to take a 1-0 lead. One out later, Michael Morse smacked an RBI single. None of the balls were hit hard.

"I had a chance for a double-play ball there [on Pence's ball], but the guy moving takes [second baseman Luis Valbuena] out of position," Arrieta said. "Morse's ball and even Pagan's ball were balls I can't field. It's just one of those reaction things where my glove was in the wrong place to be able to field it. That's tough. It's hard to second guess something like that."

Usually, those balls find the Cubs infielders, he said.

Arrieta needed 30 pitches to get through the fifth. Ehire Adrianza led off with an infield single, and stole second as Hudson struck out. Renteria considered challenging the call, but replay showed shortstop Starlin Castro didn't get his glove down in time.

Pagan kept the inning going when he reached on an infield chopper to second baseman Luis Valbuena, and then stole second. Arrieta walked Pence to load the bases, and Posey made it 3-0 with another sacrifice fly. Pablo Sandoval followed with a bloop RBI single.

"Not a ton of damage -- just right place, right time," Arrieta said of the Giants' key hits. "Maybe the hardest hit ball was an out."

"I thought their guy had really good stuff," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Arrieta. "He was throwing in the mid-90s, he had movement, he had some sink to it, a good curveball, maybe a changeup. We scratched and clawed for our runs."

The Cubs' best chance to score came in the fourth when they had runners at first and second with one out after singles by Ruggiano and Castro. But Hudson got Valbuena to pop up and struck out Welington Castillo to end the inning.

Chicago now has been shut out six times this season, tied for third most in the National League. The Cubs dropped to 4-25 when scoring three runs or less, and 0-18 when scoring two runs or less. On Tuesday, it was tough to muster anything against Hudson.

"That's what's crazy about baseball -- Jake did really well," Olt said. "[The Giants had] a couple broken bat hits, seeing eye singles. That's what this game is all about. We were just on the other end of the stick."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta