SAN FRANCISCO -- It's not the field, San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Hudson insists. It's the fielders.
Hudson won his seventh consecutive home start this season, riding the support of a flawless defense and three two-run offensive uprisings to a 7-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon.
Avoiding their first sweep of the year and first-ever in a four-game series at AT&T Park, the Giants got three hits apiece from right fielder Hunter Pence and first baseman Michael Morse in a 13-hit attack against three Nationals pitchers.
Washington had won the first three games of the series, outscoring the Giants 17-5.
"You try to avoid any kind of losing streak, whether it's all to one team or more than one team," Hudson responded when asked if Thursday's game had added significance given the results of the first three games of the series.
"They're a good team over there. We caught them at a time when if they were going to get a few on us, this was the time."
Morse scored runs after singles in two-run uprisings in the second and sixth innings that provided Hudson (7-2) more than ample support.
The first-year Giant reclaimed the National League lead in ERA at 1.81, allowing one unearned run and six hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out five.
It was the 10th time in 13 starts this season that Hudson has pitched at least seven innings and given up two or fewer runs. He has not lost since May 6.
"Good pitching on their part," said Nationals manager Matt Williams, who has firsthand knowledge of Hudson's prowess.
Williams went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Hudson during his playing career.
"He just induces grounders," Williams said. "It seems he never gets the ball up. This (performance) was pretty typical."
Right-hander Blake Treinen (0-3) took the loss.
The Giants scored twice in the second inning against Treinen to gain a lead they never relinquished. Left fielder Tyler Colvin's triple scored Morse, who had singled, with the game's first run. Shortstop Brandon Crawford's run-scoring infield out made it 2-0.
The Nationals cut the deficit in half in the fourth on an RBI single by left fielder Ryan Zimmerman that scored first baseman Adam LaRoche. The run was unearned because of a passed ball on catcher Buster Posey that had allowed LaRoche to advance into scoring position.
Hudson escaped jams in the fifth and sixth innings thanks to stellar middle-infield defense, then got another two-run injection of run support in the last of the sixth.
Crawford and second baseman Ehire Adrianza combined to make three key defensive plays in those innings that Hudson labeled as difference-makers.
"It's comforting to know you're one pitch from getting out of jams," Hudson said of the double-play potential of the Giants infield. "Every ball that's hit (to Crawford), I feel he's going to make the play."
Morse again was in the middle of the game-changing, sixth-inning uprising. He and third baseman Pablo Sandoval both scored after leading off with consecutive singles against Nationals right-handed reliever Craig Stammen. Sandoval was awarded home plate on a balk by Stammen and Morse made it 4-1 on a pinch-single by Gregor Blanco.
Sandoval's sacrifice fly scored Pence, who had singled, in the seventh, increasing the San Francisco lead to 5-1.
The Giants busted the game open with a third two-run inning, this one in the eighth against Washington's third pitcher, right-hander Aaron Barrett. Pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez delivered the big blow, a two-run single.
The Giants outhit the Nationals 13-7 but went a sixth consecutive game without a home run. Colvin (triple, single) and Crawford (double, single) also had multiple-hit games for San Francisco.
"We have really good at-bats with two outs and runners in scoring position. We've done that all year," Hudson said. "If we (the pitchers) could show our appreciation more than we do, we would."
Treinen was pulled after pitching five innings. Failing to win for a fourth consecutive start, he gave up two runs and five hits, walking three and striking out two.
Catcher Jose Lobaton had two of Washington's seven hits, both singles. The Nationals had no extra-base hits in the game.