Tim Hudson ‘excited’ to pitch on baseball’s biggest stage

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — And Tim Hudson called his last start the most important of his life.

Five days after he made the first World Series start of his career, the Giants will turn to the veteran starting pitcher again in Wednesday night’s winner-take-all Game 7 against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

[REWIND: After 34 minutes of pain, Giants look to make history in Game 7]

Kansas City evened the series on Tuesday night by knocking around Jake Peavy and just about anyone who pitched for the Giants in a 10-0 victory in front of 40,372 at Kauffman Stadium. Peavy only recorded four outs and gave up five earned runs en route to the shortest World Series start since David Wells was knocked out of Game 3 in 2003.

Tuesday’s one-sided affair gives Hudson, 39, one more opportunity at October glory.

“When you’re a little kid in the backyard, you always think of World Series games and hitting home runs to win a Game 7 of the World Series or pitching in a big game,” Hudson said. “I’m no different than anybody else.”

Prior to last week, Hudson, who will be opposed by Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie, had gone 16 seasons, 457 regular season starts and 3,003 innings without pitching in a World Series.

[RELATED: Unheralded Guthrie takes ball for Royals in Game 7]

Though Hudson didn’t pitch poorly in Game 3, he earned the loss after surrendering three earned runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings in San Francisco. Kansas City scored a first-inning run against Hudson and built a three-run lead before their vaunted three-headed bullpen monster closed out a 3-2 win.

Hudson’s effort was strong enough that Giants manager Bruce Bochy has eliminated the idea he’ll start Madison Bumgarner on two days rest after his 117-pitch effort on Sunday.

“Huddy is our starter, and we have all the confidence in him,” Bochy said.

Bumgarner does, too.

The man who has limited Kansas City to a run in 16 innings in the World Series looks forward to watching Hudson in what could be the defining moment of a great career.

“It couldn’t be a better story for Huddy,” Bumgarner said. “I’m really excited to watch him. I know he’s prepared. He’s going to be ready.”

[RELATED: Bumgarner ready to go if needed in Game 7]

Bothered earlier this season by hip discomfort, Hudson said he felt good on Friday and has since. He didn’t deviate from his normal routine between starts and focused on mechanics in his midweek bullpen session after not feeling as sharp as he would have liked in Game 3.

Considering this is the biggest start of his life, Hudson seems as confident and prepared as he can be.

“Sixteen years in the big leagues, I finally have that chance,” Hudson said. “I mean, I’m really, really excited about it. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and have some fun.”

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.