Padres get to Hudson too late in San Francisco
Grandal's ninth-inning homer chases righty, but Giants hold on
SAN FRANCISCO -- Another game, another quiet night from the San Diego offense.
About 24 hours after getting blanked by the Giants, the Padres were shackled by Tim Hudson and San Francisco for a 3-2 loss on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.
It was just the latest lackluster performance for the Padres, who wrap up the month of April with a Major League-fewest 77 runs, just 2.66 per game.
"We're battling, we're playing hard, we're not swinging the bats," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I'd like to think that our average will come up. The pitching's been outstanding overall. The bullpen's been solid, and the starters pretty much have done their part. We've got to get the bats going."
Hudson didn't make it easy on the Padres, throwing an array of pitches that were moving all over the zone. He was one strike away from putting together an impressive and economical complete game, but Yasmani Grandal launched a solo shot in to McCovey Cove over the right-field fence in the ninth to cut the Padres deficit to 3-2 and chase Hudson from the game.
Alas, Sergio Romo came in and retired pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia for the game's final out, securing the series victory for San Francisco.
"He got ground balls and attacked hitters," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Hudson (4-1). "He's had a great month. He's been so consistent. Believe me, no one wanted him to get that complete game more than me. But I had my closer ready, he's hot and well-rested. I like to think I got him ready for a reason."
Hudson needed just 89 pitches to get through his stellar outing, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out six and walking none. In vintage form, Hudson stayed low in the zone, pitched to contact and let his defense do the dirty work. He never needed more than a dozen pitches to get through any frame.
Black said he would have to go and review the tape, but from the dugout he didn't think his team was swinging at bad pitches.
"You can't let a guy like that get ahead in the count," Black said. "He'll really give you fits. So, those pitches that were early-count swings looked to me as though they were in good spots today, we just didn't hit them."
Shortstop Everth Cabrera's hot April came to a cold end as he went 0-for-4 against Hudson, citing the late movement on his pitches.
"He was throwing the ball down -- down and away, down and in, slider action, good split," Cabrera said. "Hudson does a really good job of taking advantage of guys. He does his job."
The Padres were also able to push across a late run in the eighth, when Cameron Maybin led off the frame with a double and came around to score on a groundout by Alexi Amarista. But this was Hudson's night, and his mastery wiped out a quality start from San Diego southpaw Robbie Erlin.
Erlin bounced back strong after his poor start in Washington last week by shaking off some early struggles and finishing 6 2/3 innings. He allowed three earned runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out five.
Slugging Giants outfielder Michael Morse doubled home Hunter Pence in the first to record his 20th RBI of the year. San Francisco took a 2-0 lead in the next inning when second baseman Brandon Hicks launched a solo shot to right field.
Erlin chalked up his early troubles to a lack of fastball command, something that's plagued him during bad starts this year. While he made an effort to keep his weight back on the mound and throw downhill, he felt himself opening up too early at times, leading to fastballs high in the zone.
"They were definitely elevated -- which is something that I worked on in between starts, making sure to get the ball down -- but it didn't really happen the first few innings," Erlin said. "That was pretty much the biggest adjustment."
Erlin was also charged with another run in the seventh when reliever Dale Thayer gave up an RBI single to Buster Posey to make it 3-0 Giants. Even though he was able to settle down as the game went on, Erlin wasn't pleased with his effort.
"Definitely not satisfied," Erlin said. "The most important thing is winning, and I didn't give the team a chance to do that tonight. But it's a step in the right direction compared to the last couple outings."
San Diego's lineup still sputtered despite receiving some reinforcements. After sitting out the first two games of the series while on paternity leave, new father Jedd Gyorko went 1-for-3 with a seventh-inning single. Seth Smith went 0-for-4 in his first game back since missing five games with a right groin strain.
Still, it could be a lot worse for the Padres (13-16), who are now 4 1/2 games back of the first-place Giants (17-11) despite injuries and a poor offense. Just don't try to relay that message to Black.
"Disappointed," Black said. "You've got to win ballgames. Every team has challenges, every team has challenges, every team has something going on within their own club."