BALTIMORE — Tim Hudson made the right pitches when he had to, and when he didn’t, his infield made sure it didn’t matter.
Hudson outpitched Jason Johnson, and Miguel Tejada drove in the game’s lone run in the first inning as the Oakland Athletics beat the Baltimore Orioles 1-0 Friday night.
Mark Ellis had two hits, scored a run and made two clutch plays at second base to help the A’s to their sixth win in eight games.
Tejada contributed with a fielding gem of his own as Oakland frustrated the Orioles, who went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position — including 0-for-5 with a runner on third base.
“Sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat to the pitcher,” Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick said. “He gave us a few opportunities, but he got out of it. He made big pitches when he had to; anytime he wanted a ground ball, he got it.”
Hudson (7-7) gave up eight hits, struck out two and walked one in seven-plus innings. The right-hander is 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA in six career starts against the Orioles, including 3-0 with an 0.44 ERA at Camden Yards.
“It seems that everytime I pitch, they battle really hard,” Hudson said. “We’ve just managed to play some pretty good baseball.”
Such was the case this time, as the A’s scored the only run they needed early and Hudson managed to make it stand up.
“It’s kind of how it’s been for the whole year for me. It really hasn’t been easy,” he said.
Chadwick Bradford worked out of an eighth-inning jam, and Billy Koch got three outs for his 22nd save, the second in two nights.
Johnson (3-6) allowed one run, six hits and a season-high four walks over seven innings. He struck out six.
Johnson has a 1.93 ERA over his last four starts, but is 2-1 in that span. He’s 0-3 with two no-decisions in games decided by one run.
“It’s a funny game, huh? I’ll take the good with the bad,” he said. “Tough loss tonight, but that’s the way it goes.”
Jay Gibbons had two hits for the Orioles, who went 1-for-15 with runners on base. Baltimore scored only one run in the first two games of the series.
“We’ve had two nights of not scoring runs. That’s not been typical of this team this season,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “We have good hitters in the lineup. We will hit again.”
Oakland scored in the first when Ellis hit a leadoff double and came home on a single by Tejada. But the A’s stranded runners at the corners, and did so again in the second inning.
Hudson was aided by two fine fielding plays in the third. After Geronimo Gil hit a leadoff single and Jerry Hairston followed with a double, Melvin Mora hit a bloop that a diving Ellis caught in short right field.
“If he doesn’t make that play they score one, maybe two. That turned that inning around,” Hudson said. “I was able to make some pretty good pitches after that.”
While Hudson is usually calm in such situations, Oakland manager Art Howe is not.
“He hitches up his belt when he’s in tough spots,” Howe said. “My heart rate goes up. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all.”
After Ellis disposed of Mora, Chris Singleton hit a soft liner to short. A walk loaded the bases before Tejada made a diving stop of Tony Batista’s bouncer up the middle and threw to Ellis for a force at second.
“Our guys were playing some great defense behind me. They really picked me up,” Hudson said.
Mora saved a run in the Oakland fifth, leaping at the wall in left to rob Tejada of a homer.
The A’s used another nice play by Ellis in the seventh to maintain the lead. Bordick reached second on a throwing error by Tejada and took third on a grounder by Gil. With the infield in, Ellis deftly grabbed a bouncer by Hairston and threw out Bordick at the plate.
Hairston then stole second and took third on an errant throw by catcher Ramon Hernandez, but Mora ended the threat with a fly to left.
Notes: It was the eighth one-run game in the last nine for Oakland. ... Baltimore sent 2B Brian Roberts to Triple-A Rochester and purchased the contract of INF Luis Lopez from the same team. ... Gil’s streak of throwing out five straight would-be basestealers ended when Terrence Long stole second in the fourth inning. ... Ellis is 9-for-24 (.375) with 9 runs scored leading off games.