SAN FRANCISCO--Not that he ever strayed too far, but Tim Hudson was back in vintage form Tuesday night at AT&T Park.
Hudson pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed six hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out five as the Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 for their fourth victory in five games on their current homestand.
Hudson (5-2), who missed a start with a left hip strain, then was limited to three innings last Thursday because of a rain postponement in Colorado, looked like the pitcher who started the season with seven straight starts of at least seven innings.
The 38-year-old Hudson, who won his 210th career game, lowered his ERA to 1.92 by allowing just two Cubs to reach second base over his seven-inning stint. Chicago had runners at first and third with one out in the fourth, but the right-hander retired Luis Valbuena on a pop-up to short, then struck out Welington Castillo.
With one out in the fifth, Mike Olt hammered a one-out double off the wall in center field, but Hudson promptly retired opposing pitcher Jake Arrieta on a grounder to third and ended the threat by getting leadoff man Emilio Benefacio on a grounder to short.
That was pretty much it for the Cubs on this night, even though Arrieta (1-1) pitched credibly in a losing cause. Hudson was just too much on this night, and he's been particularly tough at AT&T--the Giants are 5-0 in his starts at home. San Francisco also improved to 33-19, the best record in the majors.
The Giants gave Hudson a 2-0 cushion in the bottom of the first inning. Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence opened with back-to-back singles, Pence a hit-and-run liner through the vacated second base hole that put runners at first and third. Buster Posey hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Pagan, and Pence, who stole second during Posey's at-bat, scored on Michael Morse's two-out RBI single to center.
San Francisco added two runs in the fifth. Ehire Adrianza singled and stole second. Pagan beat out an infield hit with Adrianza advancing to third. Pence walked to load the bases, and Posey followed with his second sacrifice fly of the night to make it 3-0.
Pablo Sandoval then continued his recent hot streak with a bloop single to left-center that scored Pagan. It was the seventh straight game Sandoval has driven in a run, and he now has 17 RBIs in his last 16 games. Over the last three weeks, Sandoval has raised his average from .167 to .239.
Jeremy Affeldt pitched a perfect inning of relief in the eighth, and Jean Machi did likewise in the ninth for the Giants' third shutout of the season.
--Reliever Santiago Casilla said his injured hamstring is feeling much better. So much better that he threw on flat ground Tuesday and could be getting on a mound sooner than later. He hopes to beat the 4-6 week prognosis, and manager Bruce Bochy confirmed it could happen.
"Even (trainer) Dave Groeschner is amazed how well he's doing," the manager said. "We have him in that 4-6 week period, but it should be on the shorter end of that the way he's moving around. I think it's a credit to the type of shape he's in. He's bull-strong, and he's been really religious with his rehab."
--Matt Cain will throw a bullpen session Wednesday and Bochy said that if all goes well, Cain will start Saturday in St. Louis.
--Brandon Hicks was on the bench and Adrianza got the start at second base. Hicks is 0 for his last 10 and has just one hit in his last 18 plate trips, a home run.
"I think Hicks needs a break," Bochy said. "He's been doing a great job, but you kind of watch how things are going and decide when that is. I've been thinking about this anyway for 2-3 days."
--Pence's stolen scooter drama is over. The outfielder never got it back, but he's ordered a new one and says the old one "has a new home and is in a better place. I've moved on."
Pence said his new scooter will be more theft-proof. "I think there'll be a GPS on that bad boy," he said.
--Giants broadcaster Jon Miller was named as one of six inductees in the National Radio Hall of Fame.
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