SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bud Black has a pretty good idea why the San Diego Padres are off to another slow start. The veteran manager also knows it will get a lot rougher for his ballclub if things don’t change soon.
One night after being shut out for the fourth time this season, the Padres managed just five hits off 38-year-old Tim Hudson in a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
That ended a disappointing 4-6 road trip that included two shutouts and four other games in which the Padres were held to two runs or fewer.
“We’re battling, we’re playing hard but we’re not swinging the bats,” Black said. “The bullpen’s been solid and the starters pretty much have done their part. We’ve got to get the bats going.”
San Diego starter Robbie Erlin overcame a shaky first two innings and struck out five, giving the Padres a franchise-record 220 for March and April.
Offensively, San Diego did little.
Hudson (4-1) pitched seven scoreless innings and was one pitch from recording his first complete game in nearly two years before Yasmani Grandal’s two-out home run in the ninth. The three-time All-Star struck out six and didn’t walk a batter for the fourth time in five starts this season.
Brandon Hicks homered and Michael Morse drove in his team-leading 20th RBI for the Giants, who finished 5-1 on their homestand.
Cameron Maybin doubled and scored for San Diego, which has lost 10 consecutive series at AT&T Park.
“He was thrown the ball down,” said Padres leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera, who went 0-for-4 after hitting safely in 18 of his previous 21 games. “Down and away, down and in. Slider action, good split. Hudson does a really good job of taking advantage of guys.”
The Padres made it easier on San Francisco’s starter.
Hudson allowed only one runner past second base until Grandal’s home run in the ninth, and had two stretches where he retired nine straight batters.
The right-hander was sharp early and needed only 19 pitches to retire the first seven batters. After giving up a one-out single to Jace Peterson in the third, Hudson struck out Erlin and Cabrera.
The only other hits the Padres managed came on a two-out double by Grandal in the fourth, a single by Jedd Gyorko in the seventh and a leadoff double by Maybin in the eighth. Maybin scored on Alexi Amarista’s groundout.
“He just put on a clinic,” San Francisco 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 do it.”
The Giants backed Hudson with just enough offense. Every starter except leadoff man Juan Perez had at least one hit.
Hunter Pence singled, stole second and scored on Morse’s two-out double off the wall in right in the first.
Hicks’ fifth home run of the season leading off the second made it 2-0.
Erlin (1-4) pitched out of jams in the third and fourth but lost his fourth straight start. He left with two outs in the seventh.
“Definitely not satisfied,” said Erlin, who walked one. “The most important thing is winning and I didn’t give the team a chance to do that tonight. But it’s a step in the right direction compared to the last couple outings.”
Buster Posey’s RBI single off reliever Dale Thayer drove in Joaquin Arias to put the Giants up 3-0.
After Grandal’s homer cut San Francisco’s lead to 3-2, Sergio Romo retired one hitter for his seventh save.
Pagan was given the night off to rest his sore right knee while the slumping Sandoval also rested. Sandoval went into the night batting just .177 with only six RBIs.
Seth Smith went hitless in four at-bats in his return to the Padres lineup after missing four games with a strained groin.
NOTES: Gyorko was reinstated from the paternity leave list before the game. To make room, San Diego optioned Tommy Medica to Triple-A El Paso. … Padres LF Carlos Quentin, on the 15-day DL with a bone bruise in his left knee, will re-join the big league club for a workout at Petco Park before Friday’s game against Arizona. The team will then determine where Quentin goes to begin a rehab assignment. … RHP Andrew Cashner pitches the series opener against the Diamondbacks and has a 0.81 ERA at Petco Park this season.