Daniel Hudson strikes out eight as Diamondbacks solve Reds

CINCINNATI -- Arizona finally found the right combination to beat the NL Central leaders -- the kid and the catch.

Rookie Daniel Hudson shut down the NL's top offense for eight innings, and right fielder Justin Upton made a game-ending catch with the bases loaded Tuesday night, saving the Diamondbacks' 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Arizona beat the NL Central leaders for the first time in five games this season, taking it down to the final pitch.

Hudson (7-2) gave up four hits and fanned eight before leaving with a 3-0 lead. Juan Gutierrez let the Reds load the bases in the ninth with two outs, then hit Drew Stubb to force in a run. Ramon Hernandez followed with a liner toward the gap that Upton snagged while running full-speed and stretching as far as he could.

"That was a Hall-of-Fame play right there," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I didn't think he had a chance to catch it. That shows the importance of defense right there. Defense saved the game for them tonight."

A night after they drew a season-low 12,061 fans, the Reds sold 16,973 tickets for one of their pet promotion games -- fans were allowed to bring dogs.

The Reds took control of the NL Central by putting up the best record in the majors during August, going 19-8 while pulling away from St. Louis. They fell to 5-8 in September but maintained their seven-game lead over St. Louis, which lost to the Cubs 7-2 on Tuesday.

Arizona has struggled against the Reds, dropping 13 of their last 16 games. This time, their rookie starter got the better of Cincinnati's rookie starter. Hudson retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced.

"Being able to get into a groove has been great," Hudson said. "Right now, my confidence is high."

Arizona got the 23-year-old pitcher from the White Sox in the trade for right-hander Edwin Jackson on July 30. Hudson was the NL's rookie of the month in August, going 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA. The only loss came against Cincinnati on Aug. 17 at Coors Field, where he struck out eight in the first three innings but dropped the game 6-2.

"You're seeing a kid who knows how to pitch," manager Kirk Gibson said.

When he left, the drama started.

Gutierrez let the Reds load the bases on a pair of hits and a four-pitch walk to Jay Bruce with two outs. Gutierrez then hit Stubbs on the forearm, and fell behind in the count to Hernandez. When the catcher hit his liner toward the gap, he thought it would fall for a bases-clearing hit.

"He's very fast," Hernandez said. "He got a good jump after I hit it. He made a great, great play."

Besides his eight shutout innings, Hudson also had a run-scoring single off left-hander Travis Wood (5-3), who continued his fade. Wood lasted only five innings, giving up nine hits -- eight of them singles.

The 23-year-old lefty has a 4.73 ERA in his last six starts. He has failed to last more than five innings in four of his last five times out.

"I need to go deeper in ballgames," Wood said. "I felt good today. I fell behind some hitters and had to throw strikes and they put the ball in play."

He was helped by the Diamondbacks' tendency to strike out. Arizona fanned 12 times, the seventh time in the last eight games that it's had at least 12 strikeouts in a game.

Game notes
Arizona 3B Mark Reynolds singled in the fourth inning, ending an 0-for-24 slump. ... Baker is playing 2B Brandon Phillips even though his right hand is still sore. He was hit by a pitch on Aug. 27 and has struggled at the plate, going 1 for 20. "Defense is so valuable," Baker said. "We need him out there." ... OF Jim Edmonds is taking batting practice but isn't yet available to play. He's been bothered by a strained abdomen since Aug. 24. ... RH Aaron Harang made his first appearance since he was moved to the bullpen last week, pitching the ninth and allowing only a walk.