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Hudson tosses 8 2/3 stellar frames vs. Padres

SAN FRANCISCO -- Good things always seem to happen for the Giants when Tim Hudson takes the mound, and Wednesday night was no exception.

Hudson came within one out of his first complete game in two years, needing just 89 pitches to get through 26 outs of San Francisco's 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

"He just put on a clinic," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He stayed down the whole game, had good movement, changed speeds and threw strike one. If you want to show young pitchers how to do it, that's how you'd do it."

The crowd of 42,164 enjoyed a swift game that lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes, the quickest game of the year, on a windless night and short-sleeve weather. The game-time temperature was a balmy 80 degrees.

"It was definitely an economical night for sure," Hudson said. "I was able to get down in the strike zone and stay down in the zone, work ahead in the count. Guys were making some good plays behind me. I was able to stay out of the middle of the plate, for the most part. It was a fun night for us."

Hudson's gem was the latest in a series from a pitching staff that has helped guide the Giants to wins in six of their last seven games. The Giants finished their homestand with a 5-1 mark, sitting in first place in the National League West as April comes to a close.

Hudson (4-1) became the first pitcher to work at least seven innings in his first six starts with the Giants since Livan Hernandez in 2002. Hudson allowed two runs on five hits, striking out six without issuing a walk.

Hudson, who has an ERA of 2.17, has allowed two walks in 45 2/3 innings this season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 15.5 to 1.

"He was throwing the ball down, down and away, down and in, slider action, good split," Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera said. "Hudson does a really good job of taking advantage of guys. He does his job."

Hudson had a 3-0 lead to work with as he started the eighth inning. Michael Morse doubled in a run in the first inning, giving him 20 RBIs to become the fourth Giants player in the past 10 years to drive in that many runs in April. Hunter Pence, who had two hits, singled and stole second ahead of Morse's hit.

"You can't let a guy like that get ahead in the count," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He'll really give you fits. Those pitches that were early-count swings looked to me as though they were in good spots, we just didn't hit them."

Brandon Hicks hit his fifth home run of the season leading off the second inning, giving the Giants a homer in eight straight games, their longest streak since going deep in 10 straight late in 2010. Buster Posey added an RBI single in the seventh.

Cameron Maybin had a leadoff double in the eighth and scored after a pair of groundouts as the Padres made it 3-1. Hudson came to start the ninth, accompanied by a loud roar of support from the crowd.

He was on the verge of going the distance when Yasmani Grandal's splash-hit homer chased him, but Sergio Romo got the final out.

"He got ground balls and attacked hitters," Bochy said of Hudson. "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."

Giants' first baseman Brandon Belt broke an 0-for-17 streak with a two-out double in the third. He said Hudson makes it easy to play defense.

"He keeps you on your toes. As a defense, you love that because you're ready for the next play and you're waiting for it to get hit to you," Belt said. "That was a great effort. We expect him to be consistent every time out and he is consistent."

Hicks and shortstop Brandon Crawford each made fine plays behind Hudson, who threw 67 strikes.

"When you have a good tempo and you're throwing strikes, the defense usually plays better," Bochy said. "They're on their toes because he pounded the strike zone and pitched to contact. Consequently they made great plays for him."

Belt entered the contest with 10 strikeouts in 16 at bats for the homestand. He made contact in his first three at bats and is encouraged.

"I felt a lot better at the plate," he said. "I was able to put the bat on the ball. It's a matter of continuing to work on it."

The Giants have 34 home runs, the most in April since hitting 36 in April 2000.

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