SAN FRANCISCO – Opponents are hitting .367 against Tim Hudson over his last four starts, his ERA has climbed from 1.75 to 2.61 and he no longer looks like a lock for the NL All-Star team.
The Midsummer Classic is the least of the Giants’ worries, though.
What began as a promising turn through the rotation with Madison Bumgarner last Sunday in Arizona has turned into another rough road – against the worst offensive team in the major leagues, no less.
One day after Matt Cain couldn’t make pitches from the stretch yet again, Tim Hudson proved far too hittable – yet again – and the San Diego Padres slapped the ball around the yard while handing the Giants a 7-2 loss Tuesday night.
Starting pitching report
Hudson (7-4) looked dialed in early, using his sinker and split to induce three double-play grounders in the first four innings. The Giants sparkled behind him, going 6-4-3, 4-6-3 and 3-6-3 to record those outs.
But the balls in play got progressively more dangerous, and the Giants didn’t make the best decisions afield, either.
The Padres opened the scoring in the third inning when Cameron Maybin singled and took third on Alexi Amarista’s hit to center field. Center fielder Gregor Blanco threw to third base – not the best decision when your pitcher already has recorded two double-play grounders – and that allowed Amarista to rev into second base. Will Venable hit a sacrifice fly and Hudson stopped the rally there to prevent Blanco’s mistake from costing the Giants an additional run.
Hudson couldn’t pitch around a more obvious miscue in the fifth, though. Second baseman Joe Panik made his second error of the game when he missed the catch on third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s throw for the short force, then Amarista followed with an RBI double. Venable hit an RBI ground out to make it 3-0.
The hit deluge came in the sixth as the first six batters reached base, on five singles and a hit batter. Amarista again had the big hit, a two-run single, that gave the Padres a 6-0 lead.
Hudson was charged with six runs (four earned) on nine hits, two walks and a hit batter in 5 2/3 innings.
Bruce Bochy never likes to use his frontline relievers when the team is trailing. He had no choice but to chop up the mopwork between them, though.
At the plate
Rookie Jesse Hahn proved too much, overpowering the Giants with a simple fastball-curve combo while sprinkling in a changeup or two to lefties.
The Giants were 0 for 9 with six strikeouts the first time through the order. It took an infield hit up the middle from Pablo Sandoval to break up a perfect game bid leading off the fifth inning. The Giants managed a run on Tyler Colvin’s ground out.
But Hahn (3-1) started doubling and tripling up that curveball of his, and the Giants never figure it out. He threw it on 18 of his final 42 pitches, and 30 of his 95 in all. He threw 23 of 30 curves for strikes (eight takes, six swing throughs, six fouls and three in play) and the Giants went 0 for 4 with a strikeout against the pitch.
Gregor Blanco, who has scuffled of late while trying to sub for Angel Pagan in the leadoff spot, singled in the sixth and scored on Buster Posey’s double – his first run scored in five games
Hahn held the Giants to two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out eight in six innings.
Hahn and Odrisamer Despaigne had a total of four major league starts between them (and just five at Triple-A!) entering this series. The Giants have scored two runs in 13 innings against them.
Panik’s error stung, but the Giants did make a fine relay from Blanco to shortstop Brandon Crawford to the plate to throw out Seth Smith trying to score the first run of the sixth inning. Posey sealed off the plate, ensuring he wouldn’t get Heywarded again.
The Giants announced 41,456 paid. Hopefully Yusmeiro Petit didn’t take it personally as the crowd streamed for the exits while he began throwing warmups in the ninth.
The Giants and Padres wrap up their three-game series on Wednesday at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum (5-5, 4.90 ERA) takes the mound against Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy (5-8, 3.90). First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. PDT.