ST. LOUIS — Tim Hudson still refuses to take credit for his quick start to the season.
“There comes a lot of luck with it,” he said. “I’m just throwing the ball and missing (bat) barrels.”
The San Francisco right-hander threw seven shutout innings and Joaquin Arias keyed a four-run first inning with a two-run single to lead the Giants to an 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
The Giants have won five of six and have the best record in the NL at 37-20.
St. Louis has lost four of five. The Cardinals managed just four hits.
Hudson (6-2) gave up three hits, struck out six, and walked two in improving to 4-4 against St. Louis. Hudson’s previous win against the Cardinals came on July 19, 2007, as a member of the Atlanta Braves. He retired the last 11 batters he faced on Sunday.
The 38-year-old has a 1.75 ERA, second in the NL, and has gone at least seven innings in nine of 11 starts.
Hudson missed the final two months of last season with a fractured ankle, but has rebounded with one of the best starts of his 14-year career.
Hudson took control early after his teammates gave him four early runs.
“Great job,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “You go seven innings and no runs against this club, you’re doing something.”
Catcher Buster Posey said Hudson simply keeps rolling along.
“Nothing fancy, he just goes out there and pitches to contact, like he always does,” Posey said. “He’s smart and he knows how to attack the hitters.
Hudson said he was able to relax after the early run support.
“I just went out there and tried to pound the strike zone,” he said. “A starting pitcher always welcomes early runs. It makes our job a whole lot easier.”
Arias came through with a key hit. He got the start after Michael Morse fouled a ball off his left foot in batting practice. In his second start in the past 24 games, Arias went 3 for 4 with three RBIs. He broke out of a 0-for-14 skid with a bases-loaded single in the first.
“He stays ready and he’s got a lot of poise,” Bochy said. “He really needed a game like this.”
Morse is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday when the Giants play at Cincinnati, according to Bochy.
Posey had three hits in returning to the lineup after missing three games with tightness in his lower back.
“I feel pretty good,” Posey said. “Hopefully, it is something I can manage.”
Lance Lynn (6-3) gave up seven runs, four earned, and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings after posting his first career shutout on Tuesday against the York Yankees.
“One of those days where that will happen,” Lynn said. “A tough one.”
Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence and Posey singled to start the four-run first. Posey’s RBI hit came on Lynn’s 10th pitch.
Gregor Blanco reached on an error by Kolten Wong and Pence scored on a groundout by Brandon Crawford. Brandon Hicks walked to set the stage for Arias’ bases-loaded single.
The error, on a potential double play ball, led to three unearned runs.
“If an out is made there,” Lynn said. “We are out of the inning with one run.”
Arias pushed the lead to 5-0 with a run-scoring single in the third. Crawford added an RBI double in the fourth. Blanco brought in the final run with a triple in the sixth.
“You’re just going to have those days,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “We just couldn’t get anything going.”
St. Louis third baseman Matt Carpenter extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a first-inning single. It is the longest current streak in the NL.
Notes: Former University of Missouri men’s basketball coach Norm Stewart threw out the first pitch. … The Giants finished May with an NL-best 19-9 record. … St. Louis OF Matt Holliday walked in the third inning and has reached safely in all 28 home games. … St. Louis rookie OF Oscar Taveras singled in the second and has hit safely in both of his starts. … San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a double in the second inning.