SAN FRANCISCO -- After going more than seven years without beating Tim Hudson, the Giants made up for lost time Friday night. They tormented Hudson with hard hits and soft ones, with screaming liners and lucky bounces, and rolled to an 8-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves behind Matt Cain at AT&T Park.
How long had it been since the Giants toppled Hudson? The last time they did it, San Francisco batters included Lance Niekro, Pedro Feliz, and Todd Greene.
So, yeah, it'd been a while.
"Everybody knows what a great pitcher he his,'' said Marco Scutaro, who went 2 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. "For us to have a big inning against him was big for Matt and this team."
In nine starts against the Giants since that April 8, 2006, victory, Hudson was 6-0 with a 2.48 ERA.
But then came Friday night's six-run fourth inning.
The Giants broke through with five consecutive hits, as Scutaro (single) was followed by Pablo Sandoval (single) and Buster Posey (RBI double) and Hunter Pence (RBI single) and Brandon Belt (RBI double).
Not all of those five consecutive hits were blistered: Pence's infield single was a tapper toward third, and Belt's double was a high-chopper that barely made it over 6-foot-5 first baseman Freddie Freeman.
But after all those years of frustration against Hudson, the Giants weren't about to throw those hits back. They're not accustomed to routs, against Hudson or any other pitcher, so the six-run rally was a welcome oasis.
"I'll say," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We don't get a lot of those games."
Cain chipped in at the plate, too, to keep the rally going. The Braves walked Brandon Crawford intentionally to load the bases and take their chances with a hitter who was just 0 for 11 with five strikeouts this season. Cain promptly slapped an RBI single through the right side to make it 4-0.
"I was just trying to make contact, and I wound up swinging at a really bad pitch," he said.
Scutaro capped the long rally with a two-run single, his second hit of the inning. Having recovered from a back problem that undermined his performance for most of April, Scutaro is now batting .487 (19 for 39) with nine runs during his 10-game streak.
"He's feeling better. I think we're all seeing that," Cain said. "He's got a lot of confidence."
Scutaro's hit finished Hudson, who gave up six earned runs over 32/3 innings.
Cain, in contrast, continued to snap back into his more familiar form. The three-time All-Star was 0-2 with a 6.49 ERA in April. But he's 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA over his first two starts of May.
Cain's only real stumble came in the top of the fifth, when he walked Dan Uggla and allowed Brian McCann's two-run home run into McCovey Cove. "I'm not happy with giving them two runs right off the bat," Cain said. "But you just keep fighting."
It marked the second time McCann hit Cain hard. In the second, the Braves catcher lined a comebacker off the pitcher's right hip. But Cain recovered, chased the ball toward the first-base line and threw out McCann at first. The health scare was brief: Cain said later it was only a "good bruise."
Cain stayed in the game to finish eight strong innings (114 pitches), sparing an overworked and short-handed bullpen.
"It's big, what Matt did for us tonight," Bochy said. "We needed a lot of length from our starter, and we would have really been scrambling (had he come out)."
What's more, Bochy thinks the right-hander is on the verge of turning things around, so long as Vogelsong dials back the intensity. "He needs to back off. He's pressing," Bochy said. "He's grinding too hard on every pitch."