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Hudson's follow-up act as good as his first

Hudson's follow-up act as good as his first

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PHOENIX -- Nobody told the new guy that the last-place D-backs aren't supposed to mess with these first-place Padres.

But would Daniel Hudson have listened anyway?

Hudson tossed one-run ball for 7 2/3 innings in his home debut on Friday night, and Arizona snapped its six-game skid against National League West-leading San Diego with a 2-1 victory.

The D-backs (42-68) have won four of their past six games, and credit the 23-year-old Hudson, who arrived with Minor Leaguer David Holmberg in the July 30 trade of Edwin Jackson to the White Sox, with two of those Ws.

Five days after shutting down the Mets in New York, Hudson was equally tough on the Padres, yielding Will Venable's third-inning homer and nothing else.

"It's good to make a good impression on everybody at home," Hudson (3-1) said of the 22,168 in attendance. "They were great tonight -- great ovation there coming off the [mound]."

In two outings sporting Sedona Red, Hudson has allowed two runs on six hits in 15 2/3 innings. And pounding the strike zone has been key. Friday, he threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of the first 21 Padres.

"He's fearless out there," said first baseman Adam LaRoche, whose second-inning home run off the almost-as-stingy Jon Garland proved crucial. "To play behind a guy that is pounding the zone and getting balls put in play [and recording] quick innings is nice."

Said interim manager Kirk Gibson: "It's certainly hard not to smile after that effort."

And it wasn't spoiled due to just enough production against Garland (10-8), who was solid for seven innings.

LaRoche guessing right on a second-inning changeup, sending it into the right-field seats, gave Hudson a slim lead to work with.

"It wasn't where [Garland] was trying to put it," LaRoche said of his 18th homer, which is second most on the club. "He left it out over the middle of the plate."

Arizona added on in the third when Justin Upton -- after Stephen Drew and Kelly Johnson drew two of Garland's six walks -- poked a two-out RBI single into center field.

When the D-backs' defense temporarily set Hudson back (Rusty Ryal's bobble in the seventh allowed cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick to reach) it recovered to help him out (LaRoche dove to his left to rob the next batter, Chase Headley, of a base hit).

Hudson took it from there. With Ludwick on second, Gibson opted to intentionally walk the potential go-ahead run, Venable, before his young hurler induced Tony Gwynn's harmless groundout to end the threat.

"Good, young arm," Padres manager Bud Black said. "His fastball had some life to it, and he had a nice tail at the end. He showed a decent changeup, too."

Hudson retired two of the three hitters he faced in the eighth before Gibson called on left-hander Jordan Norberto to counter San Diego slugger Adrian Gonzalez. Norberto's errant pickoff throw toward first base allowed Jerry Hairston Jr. to reach second base, but the rookie reliever stranded him anyway when Gonzalez grounded out weakly to shortstop.

"Daniel had done his job, and Gonzalez had some decent swings off him," Gibson said, "so I certainly didn't want him to get the loss on that at-bat."

Norberto, who has held left-handed hitters to a .200 average (4-for-20) this season, gave way to de facto closer Aaron Heilman in the ninth. He, too, delivered by retiring San Diego's 4-5-6 hitters for his eighth straight scoreless outing and fifth save in nine opportunities.

"These are the games we've been losing, and a lot of them we've kind of beat [ourselves] late in games," LaRoche said. "So to see guys come in games and get some big outs late -- we stranded a couple runners and made some plays behind them -- this was nice."

Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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