Tim Hudson’s major-league résumé includes 17 seasons, the most wins of any active pitcher, four All-Star nods and a World Series ring. But before Sunday, it did not include a win against the A’s, who drafted him in 1997 and for whom he pitched from 1999 to 2004.
In fact, the A’s were the only current major-league team Hudson had not beaten. It took a laborious fourth inning from the right-hander and four scoreless innings by his bullpen Sunday, but after the Giants defeated the A’s 4-3 for their 11th win in 12 games, Hudson became the 15th pitcher to defeat all 30 teams.
“That’s quite a deal, really,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It tells you about him, his stuff, his longevity. I guess he checked this box off.”
It was not one of Hudson’s more efficient or aesthetic outings. The Giants’ bullpen began stirring during a 29-pitch fourth inning, in which the A’s scored twice off Hudson, and again in the fifth as he faced Ben Zobrist with a runner on first and a one-run lead. Bochy said that, had Zobrist reached, it “would have been a tough call” whether to leave Hudson in to face cleanup hitter, Josh Reddick.
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I’m not sure if you’d say it was on my bucket list, but it is a pretty cool thing to be able to say you’ve done.
The Giants’ Tim Hudson, on beating all 30 major-league teams
But Bochy didn’t have to make that decision. Hudson got Zobrist to fly out to left field to end the inning, and thus qualified for the decision on his 82nd and final pitch.
“Gutty effort by him today,” Bochy said.
Hudson joined a list of players to beat all 30 teams that includes Randy Johnson, who was enshrined into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, former teammate Barry Zito, and A.J. Burnett and Dan Haren – the only other two active pitchers to accomplish the feat. He had faced the A’s only twice before Sunday and had a 9.58 ERA in those two starts, both losses.
“I’m not sure if you’d say it was on my bucket list, but it is a pretty cool thing to be able to say you’ve done,” Hudson said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play for some really good teams and have a chance to beat all of them right now, so it’s pretty cool. But the most important thing is we won the ballgame today, whether I got the win or not.”
The Giants moved 10 games over .500, matching their high-water mark of the season, and within one game of the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants have outscored opponents 76-34 over their last 12 games, and they swept the A’s for the first time since May 2011 at AT&T Park.
“Guys are really playing with some confidence, and we’re going out there and giving ourselves a good chance to win,” Hudson said. “We’re playing some solid baseball.”
The Giants staked Hudson to a three-run lead in the first inning on Matt Duffy’s two-run homer and Brandon Belt’s RBI single. Duffy, who continues to thrive in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, added an RBI single in the second as the Giants chased A’s starter Kendall Graveman after he recorded just four outs.
4 Outs recorded by A’s starter Kendall Graveman
But their offense quieted after that, and Hudson’s exit after the fifth required the bullpen to piece together the final four innings. Four relievers combined to hold the A’s to three baserunners, though for the second consecutive day, closer Santiago Casilla made things interesting in the ninth.
Casilla walked leadoff hitter Jake Smolinski and allowed a single to Brett Lawrie, putting the tying run on second with no outs. But after Josh Phegley struck out, Smolinski tried to steal third base on the first pitch to Marcus Semien and was thrown out easily by Buster Posey. Casilla then struck out Semien to end the game.
A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters Smolinski missed a sign. Posey said seeing the runner in motion “caught me off-guard a little bit. But obviously for me, the runner’s right there in front of me. So once he breaks, it just becomes instinctual at that point.”
It was the second caught stealing for Posey – who threw out Zobrist at second base in the first inning – and the catcher also had four hits to raise his average to .328. But the focus afterward was on Hudson, who won for the first time since he turned 40 on July 14 and was asked if it feels different pitching in his fifth decade.
“No,” Hudson said, grinning. “It’s still hard. It was hard when I was 30.”