Athletics 2, Orioles 0
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Manager Ken Macha wasn’t even going to try to get Tim Hudson off the mound this time.
Hudson (7-3) won for the first time in three starts as the A’s won their third straight and improved to 6-5 on their season-long 13-game homestand. He threw 115 pitches in his first complete game of the season and fifth of his career. And the A’s never had to send in their closer, Keith Foulke.
“It’s nice to finally get a win,” Hudson said. “I felt I had it in control. I think I made his decision easy.”
After getting Jeff Conine to pop out to first for the final out, Hudson punched his fist in his glove several times before bumping fists and hugging catcher Ramon Hernandez, celebrating the pitcher’s first shutout since Sept. 14 against Seattle.
The right-hander has 10 no-decisions this season in 20 starts despite pitching well enough to win in most of those outings—in his 13 non-win starts Hudson has gotten just 3.89 runs of support. He has handled it well, though he’s also said that not getting the victories has been frustrating.
“That made it feel a lot better,” Long said of winning for Hudson. “He’s had some tough luck this year. This was special.”
Macha believes Hudson’s an All-Star, even if he’s not going to the game in Chicago next week. Hudson instead will watch the game while on a mini vacation to Lake Tahoe with his wife, Kim, and their 1-year-old daughter, Kennedy Rose.
“I feel like I’ve been one of the best pitchers in the league,” he said. “I’ll watch it. We have a lot of guys going. I’ll give them some support.”
Long doubled off Rodrigo Lopez (2-5) with two outs and Hernandez on first after a walk. Hernandez scored on the play after colliding with catcher Geronimo Gil, and Long came home on a wild throw to the plate by shortstop Deivi Cruz that got past Gil for an error.
Third-base coach Ron Washington didn’t hesitate to send Hernandez—not one of the A’s fastest players—home from first on Long’s hit.
“He was only a couple steps from third when (left fielder Melvin) Mora picked up the ball,” Washington said. “I thought this might be our only chance we have. So, let them make the play.”
After allowing a leadoff single to Brian Roberts in the first, Hudson retired 18 straight batters before Luis Matos led off the seventh with an infield single. It ended up being Baltimore’s best chance to score.
Matos went to second on Melvin Mora’s sacrifice and advanced to third on Conine’s flyout to center. Jay Gibbons walked to put runners on the corners, but Hudson then got Tony Batista to foul out to third to escape the jam.
Hudson is 7-0 with a 1.71 ERA against the Orioles in seven career starts.
“I thought I’d never seen a better sinker than Kevin Brown’s, but I may have tonight,” Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said.
Conine, who’s 2-for-13 lifetime against Hudson, had inning-ending strikeouts in the first and fourth innings and had his 12-game hitting streak snapped.
The Orioles won two straight in Seattle, but couldn’t generate any offense against Hudson, who struck out nine and intentionally walked one. He used a nice array of offspeed pitches to baffle Baltimore’s hitters.
“There was nothing up unless it was way up,” the Orioles’ Jay Gibbons said. “He didn’t throw anything over the plate. That makes it tough to get comfortable. I got one pitch, that was it.”
Lopez also pitched a great game, going the distance for the second time in his career. The right-hander retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced before Miguel Tejada’s two-out double in the fourth. Tejada is hitting .400 (4-for-10) against Lopez. Tejada doubled in the fourth and went to third on a double-steal. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays twice had double steals against Oakland earlier this week.
After intentionally walking Chavez following Tejada’s double, Lopez retiredthe next nine in a row then got into trouble in the seventh.
Long is hitting .326 (17-for-52) over his last 15 games. … Lopez is 1-2 in four career starts against Oakland. He has gone 2-2 since coming off the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle in his left side. … Roberts returned to the lineup at 2B after sitting out two games with a strained back. … Baltimore OF B.J. Surhoff, who left Wednesday’s game with a strained right quadriceps, was not in the lineup Friday for the second straight day. He isdoubtful to play again before the All-Star break.