With Daniel Hudson and Edwin Jackson facing off for the first time since they were traded for each other last July, this was a statement game.
Unfortunately, silence can be its own statement.
Hudson kept the White Sox offense quiet all night long and finished the job himself, going the distance for the first complete game of his career. And really, the game was more complete than the rulebook definition.
First, you had the pitching. Hudson kept the Sox off-balance all night long, getting a lot of weak contact, especially in the direction of shortstop, where Stephen Drew recorded 11 assists. His last one came courtesy of Hudson's defense, as he gloved A.J. Pierzynski's chopper to start a game-ending 1-6-3 double play.
And Hudson put the game out of reach at the plate, too.
Paul Konerko had cut the Arizona lead in half with a solo homer in the top of the seventh, feasting on a Hudson fastball after missing one earlier in the game. Jackson appeared to be in good position to hold the momentum -- he had two outs, a runner on first, and Hudson at the plate.
But Hudson can swing a decent bat for a pitcher, and when Jackson threw him a 1-1 fastball, Hudson drilled it to the right-center gap. It got past Carlos Quentin, and Ryan Roberts scored all the way from first to make it a two-run game again. In came Chris Sale, and he gave up a double to Kelly Johnson, scoring Hudson for the game's final run.
Jackson didn't pitch as poorly as his rough start indicated. He also did not pitch as well as the eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings would suggest. He dealt with both sides of the coin in the first inning -- he struck out the side, but in between, he allowed three palpable hits.
A balk didn't help. Of course, it warrants mentioning that Joe West's crew worked this game, but this one appeared to be legit. Jackson had to look at Pierzynski forever for a sign, waiting for Pierzynski to get whatever he needed from the dugout. During the delay, Jackson flinched in such a manner that his hands moved towards getting set, then stopped.
Drew, who singled, moved from first to second, then scored as Justin Upton drilled the last of three hanging sliders he saw from Jackson into center for an RBI single. Upton scored from first two batters later on Miguel Montero's two-out double. He eventually settled down well enough until Hudson's two-out double six innings later. It was almost like the Baseball Gods had to make this night extra painful.