From one of Tim Hudson’s best career starts to a season to Ryan Vogelsong’s two straight scoreless starts to Madison Bumgarner’s five-game winning streak

It appears that the San Francisco Giants pitching staff is ready to make a difference in the National League West.

The Giants allowed a total of just five runs in six recent wins, including back-to-back shutouts over the Chicago Cubs. They have blanked opponents in three of their last six games, including Sunday’s 8-0 victory at St. Louis. San Francisco ranks second in the NL, and third in the major leagues with a 3.02 ERA.

Vogelsong (3-2) struck out seven in 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 2-1 win over Minnesota on May 24. That followed his seven scoreless innings in a start against Miami. Vogelsong had a 1.36 ERA over six consecutive starts before a no-decision in Thursday’s 6-5 win over the Cardinals.

“I feel like when I’m out there, I can throw anything in any count,” Vogelsong said. “That’s a great feeling.”

Bumgarner won his fourth straight game covering five starts on May 25 by an 8-1 score over the Twins at AT&T Park. He struck out 10 batters with no walks.

“Madison was Madison,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had his normal stuff and pitched great.”

Bumgarner got his fifth consecutive win on Friday by a 9-4 score over the Cardinals. Bumgarner (7-3, 2.85 ERA) allowed three hits and struck out 10, matching a season-high, with one walk in seven scoreless innings.

“You know you’ve got to be on it,” Bumgarner said of pitching against the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright. “You’re geared up for a 1-0 game. Fortunately for us, he didn’t have it tonight. The offense did an unbelievable job scoring runs off somebody like that.”

After losing 8-4 to the Chicago Cubs at home on May 26, the Giants blanked the Cubs in the next two games.

Tim Hudson threw seven innings in a 4-0 victory on May 27, and followed that performance with another seven shutout innings in an 8-0 win over the Cardinals on Sunday. Hudson (6-2, 1.75 ERA) allowed three hits with six strikeouts and two walks while retiring the last 11 batters he faced at St. Louis.

“I hope they don’t think I’m going to be this good all year,” said Hudson, 38, who signed with the Giants in the offseason after suffering a broken right ankle with Atlanta last year.

“He’s getting better with age,” Bochy said.

As for his hot start, Hudson was modest.

“There comes a lot of luck with it,” he said. “I’m just throwing the ball and missing (bat) barrels.”

The win gave the Giants their fifth win in six games, and a 37-20 record, the best in the NL.

Tim Lincecum led the Giants to a sweep over the Cubs last Wednesday, pitching five innings of no-hit ball, with five relievers finishing off the two-hit, 5-0 win. Lincecum, who has been a bit wild in his past two starts, struck out five with four walks and hit a batter. The Cubs didn’t get their first hit until the seventh inning.

Lincecum developed a small blister on the tip of his middle finger in the third inning, so he and Bochy didn’t want to risk it.

“I think it’s just because I know what our bullpen is capable of,” Lincecum said. “I just wanted to get the win today and put up some good numbers today, so it was good.”

StatsWatch: Here are the best home records in baseball, through Sunday’s games -

  • Miami, 20-11
  • San Francisco, 19-9
  • Colorado, 16-7
  • Cleveland, 18-11
  • Atlanta, 18-12
  • Milwaukee, 18-12
  • Toronto, 18-13
  • Oakland, 17-12
  • St. Louis, 16-12
  • Chicago White Sox, 17-14
  • Pittsburgh, 16-13
  • Detroit, 14-11

Quotable: “I behaved bad here with everybody. I want to you to forgive me.” – former Boston slugger Manny Ramirez on what he told Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick last week. Ramirez flung McCormick to the clubhouse floor in 2008 in Houston in a dispute over tickets for a game.

Diamond Notes: The Baltimore Orioles are expecting pitcher Johan Santana to join their rotation in mid-June. Santana is rehabbing from left shoulder surgery. He has pitched in just 21 major league games since the end of the 2010 season due to various injuries… Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, whose contract expires in January, has formed a committee of owners to find the next commissioner. Selig doesn’t rule out having someone from outside of baseball to succeed him.

Copyright © 2014  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.


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