Hudson Brilliant As D-backs Avoid Sweep, 3-1

And there you have it. Dan Hudson has now surpassed Barry Enright as the team's hottest young arm. Seven innings, five hits, one run. Very nicely done, young man. Montero and Drew were the heroes at the plate.

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Daniel Hudson's Confidence Grew Another Notch In Win Over Giants

By the middle of the seventh inning young Daniel Hudson had thrown 90-plus pitches. What happened next says a lot about the future of this team.

After giving up a home run to the second batter he faced in the game, Hudson was brilliant for the next five innings. His change-up was a few miles per hour less than normal but he said it had more depth and certainly was effective against the Giant's hitters who only managed three hits and one walk off the righty in the middle innings. His fastball continued to be lively and well under control.

Going into the seventh the Diamondbacks held a slim 2-1 lead over Barry Zito's Giants and Daniel, after striking out the first batter, gave up a single to big Pablo "Panda" Sandoval. Darren Ford pinch-running for the Panda stole second and then Giants infielder Juan Uribe moved the runner to third on a ground ball to the right side setting up a big two out situation.

Hudson then wisely pitched around the eighth man in the order, Cody Ross, forcing the Giants to lift ace Barry Zito for a pinch hitter, lefty Travis Ishikawa.

It's a pivotal moment in the game with Hudson facing a the prospect of giving up a tying run and a lefty (veteran Mike Hampton) ready in the Diamondbacks bullpen.

Manager Kirk Gibson has talked about putting his young players in pressure situations so he could see how they handle themselves and to teach them valuable lessons for the future when hopefully, games will matter much more. With that in mind, it really wasn't too big of a surprise that Gibby let Hudson face Ishikawa.

Daniel came through with flying colors, inducing an innning-ending ground ball to first.

"I've got all the confidence in the world in myself that I know I can get out of that situation and it really means a lot to me that he (Gibson) has the same confidence that I do that I can get myself out of that jam," Hudson said.

Gibby retold the report from his pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr. who after visiting with Hudson on the mound before facing Ishikawa said that Hudson was 'calm' and ready to go.

Forget the win that is meaningless in the standings for this team deep in the cellar. It's moments like these that the last few weeks of the season are all about.

Not only does Hudson gain confidence from getting out of the jam and the fans can get just a little more excited about next season but you better believe the rest of the guys in the club house notice too.

"He's throwing well for us and we're glad to have him," Stephen Drew said.

Drew was offensive star of the night scoring the go-ahead run in the third after a lead off triple and then batting in a late insurance run in the seventh with two outs and a runner on second.

Catcher Miguel Montero said he was most impressed with Hudson's command of his fastball and says it's fun to catch him.

Hudson was basically a two pitch pitch through the first four or five innings before the slider was able to be used a bit more. It's a third pitch that Daniel has been working to develop.

Miggy said that because the slider isn't Hudson's best pitch, he only calls for it in counts where it can't hurt him. It's a balance between developing the pitch and giving Daniel confidence in it and not setting him up to get hit hard.

"I don't want to go with the breaking ball to strike 'em out somebody, just to make the hitter look something else. Just change his eye level, change his eye speed. I just try to put something down, the slider, so they can see something different and then just make the fastball even better," Montero explained about his approach to calling for Hudson's third pitch.

Another impressive aspect to Hudson's outing what his confidence and willingness to stick to his game plan after seeing Barry Enright get hit around the day prior. Both Enright and Hudson like to pitch in the strike zone and the Giants were well prepared for that.

Instead of going away from his strength in that situation and trying to get the aggressive G-men to swing at balls outside the zone, Daniel did what he does.

"Barry, I think he left a couple up in the zone, his fastball may have been a little more flat than usual. You can't really change the game plan," Hudson said adding the he and Montero were on the same page about going after the Giant's batters.

My best stuff against your best stuff. That's what you want to hear from a young man learning to win at this level.

Eventually, Hudson will have a rough night just like Enright did yesterday. We will see how Barry bounces back in a few days and at some point we will see if Hudson can maintain the confidence and aggressiveness after getting rocked a time or two. When that happens we will have learned a lot more about this quiet young man.

Hudson is now 5-1 since coming to the Diamondbacks with an ERA well under 2.0.


Hudson Brilliant As D-backs Avoid Sweep, 3-1

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Dan Hudson pitched seven solid innings and Stephen Drew fueled Arizona’s offense, as the Diamondbacks took a 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants to avoid being swept in the three-game series.

Hudson (5-1) gave up one run on five hits and two walks to get another win against the Giants. He took the victory back on August 28 after limiting San Francisco to two runs in seven innings.

Drew tripled and scored the decisive run in the third inning on Kelly Johnson’s single. Drew added an RBI single in the seventh for Arizona, which snapped a four-game losing streak.

Barry Zito (8-12) limited Arizona to two runs in six innings, and struck out seven. But he still took the loss for a fifth straight start as the Giants had their four-game win streak broken.

San Francisco fell to two games behind Atlanta in the NL wild card chase, as the Braves beat Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The Giants also entered Wednesday’s contest one game behind San Diego, which is playing Los Angeles, in the NL West standings.

With one out in the first inning, Freddy Sanchez homered to left to put the Giants in front. However, some inaccuracy from Zito helped Arizona tie the game in the second.

Zito walked Chris Young and Adam LaRoche to begin the second, and after Mark Reynolds grounded into a double play, Miguel Montero doubled to center to plate a run.

Johnson’s third-inning hit put the Diamondbacks up, 2-1, and Hudson made the lead hold up. He got a double-play grounder to end the fourth, then set San Francisco down in order in the fifth and sixth.

The Giants then had runners at the corners with two away in the seventh. But Hudson retired Travis Ishikawa, pinch-hitting for Zito, to ground out to first.

After Drew’s RBI single gave the Diamondbacks a two-run edge, Esmerling Vasquez worked a scoreless eighth. Juan Gutierrez worked around a leadoff double by Jose Guillen in the ninth to seal the victory.

Gutierrez got his eighth save…Zito has dropped his last eight decisions. He hasn’t gotten a win since July 16, though has five quality starts since then.


Managers Pregame Notes: Gibby Wants To Come Back Next Season, But Focused On This One

Quick notes from today's pregame manager's media chat session:

  • Mark Reynolds is back in the lineup tonight and hitting sixth.
  • The D-backs had a community event today at a local St. Vincent De Paul serving meals to homeless people. Gibson is supportive of this type of giving back and wants his young players to realize how lucky they are and stay humble.

    "If I'm back here next year, we'll do a lot more stuff like that. We can probably make it into something really and truly special." As for his own status as interim manager, Gibson is just focused on finishing out the season but added, "I certainly want to be back, and I certainly feel that I can help take the organization where we need to go."
  • Gibson is encouraged by the team's young pitching core of Enright, Kennedy and Hudson but remains cautious.

    "I'm encouraged by what they've done. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome. The thing about this game is you can never really let your guard down and say ‘we're all set.' It doesn't work like that. You can't paint the picture. You're not the artist. You can dream about what it is going to be, but you can't paint it."
  • On the development of Miguel Montero as a catcher: "He's come a long way, yet so far to go. I played until I was 38, and I still felt like I had to get better and learn things until the last day I played. I expect he will do the same thing."

Brandon Webb Real Happy With Today's 50-Pitch Session

Brandon Webb was happy with his pitching performance today. Not on the mound facing live hitters, mind you, but the 50 to 60 pitches he threw in the cage under the stands in what he called a bullpen session.

"Good, good. Real good. I think this might the best one including San Francisco. It was good," Webb said.

Webb said he was able to slow things down and focus on his mechanics and the result was excellent movement on his sinker.

"I started throwing from just the power position today when I very first started throwing. Very simple, you just lift your leg up and go... Breaks it down really simple. Start from there and things were good from that," he said.

"It was the best I've had by far. I was like, 'this is nasty.' It was moving pretty good. Location was really good. I threw a lot of strikes."

Webb also threw some curveballs that he said were also working for him.

Asked if he was still planning to pitch this season Webb remained confident.

"I hope so, I don't know," he said. "Like I said, if I can make it one time it would be great. Anything else would be extra so I'm still planning on getting some kind of action."

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