Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hudson gets it done with his arm and his bat

By Anthony Fenech / | 7/17/2011

PHOENIX -- You couldn't ignore Daniel Hudson on Sunday.

If he wasn't on the mound, pitching the second complete game of his career, he was at the plate, recording the second multi-hit game of his career. And if he wasn't at the plate, then he was crossing it, after hitting his first home run.

"It definitely is [memorable]," Hudson said. "My first home run, you get a complete game against the Dodgers, we're big rivals and everything like that. It feels great."

No, you couldn't ignore Hudson's performance -- nine innings pitched, one run allowed on five hits, a home run and three RBIs -- in the D-backs' 4-1 victory over the Dodgers at Chase Field.

But his teammates tried.

"I said to the guys to kind of sit down and let it be a little bit," catcher Miguel Montero said.

Hudson received the silent treatment, which eventually gave way to a celebration, inside the dugout after hitting what proved to be a game-winning home run off Ted Lilly.

"I knew they were going to do something like that," Hudson said. "I just said, 'Thanks guys, appreciate it. Thanks for the support.' They came around and gave me high-fives after that."

The solo shot was the first of his career, a breaking ball-turned-laser beam that just found its way over the fence in left field.

"I just hit it hard," Hudson said. "It was top-spinning, so I didn't know if it was going to clear the fence, and I think I heard somebody reached out over the fence and brought it back for me."

And as he continued to stifle the Dodgers from the hill, Hudson wasn't done at the plate, driving in two more runs with two outs the very next inning after manager Kirk Gibson elected to stick with the hot-hitting pitcher instead of opting for a pinch-hitter.

"It's Daniel Hudson," Gibson said matter-of-factly. "He's very competitive, hitting over .300, and he wanted to finish the game. He did well."

Hudson once again jumped on a breaking ball, sending it into left field past the outstretched glove of Juan Uribe, to score Chris Young and Ryan Roberts and give himself more than enough offense to work with for his career-high 10th victory of the season.

He also earned himself a place in franchise history, as it was the second time a pitcher has gone nine innings and driven in three runs in the same game. Brandon Webb did it on May 20, 2006, against the Braves.

"It's a good round number to get to," Hudson said of his 10th win. "Obviously, Ian [Kennedy] got his last night, and I was happy for him. We just try to match each other and push each other to win."

The 24-year-old also became the youngest pitcher in franchise history to toss two complete games in a season, the most since Dan Haren threw three in 2009.

"I take pride in going out there, keeping my pitch count low and working deep into games," Hudson said. "I think that's something I work hard in between starts on -- to have enough stamina to throw a lot of pitches."

Hudson methodically worked through the Dodgers' lineup, allowing one run on five hits -- the run scored on a wild pitch -- while striking out three and walking none.

He didn't surrender a hit through the first three innings, threw 113 pitches, didn't allow more than two baserunners in any inning and saved his most efficient frame for last, retiring the Dodgers on nine pitches in the ninth.

"He's very good at closing out things," Gibson said. "He showed a lot of character and he was impressive today. Well rested and sharp.

"I was kind of watching him through the first innings and noticed he was getting through them very efficiently, and thought this might be a day that he might be able to go all the way, and he did."

Gibson stuck with Hudson in the seventh after Los Angeles intentionally walked two batters and manager Don Mattingly replaced Lilly with right-hander Blake Hawksworth.

"I liked the matchup, honestly," Gibson said. "I know Hawksworth's good, and I know righties are better against him."

Lilly was tagged with his 10th loss after pitching 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits. Both intentional walks were his, and he struck out nine.

Roberts opened the scoring in the second inning with a solo home run to left, his 12th of the year.

"I just caught a changeup," Roberts said. "I put a good swing on it, and it went out."

With the series victory, the D-backs keep pace with the Giants in the National League West and sit three and a half games out heading into a four-game set with the Brewers on Monday.

"We want to win every series," Gibson said, "but we certainly feel better now that we won the series.

"We need for us to keep where we're at. It's the only way to get to the Giants."

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