After the long wait to finally get to the World Series, it was the first pitch of the game that helped put Tim Hudson in a hole San Francisco could never overcome.
Kansas City's Alcides Escobar doubled on Hudson's first offering and came around to score on a pair of groundouts that helped the Royals beat the Giants 3-2 in Game 3 of the Series on Friday night.
"You got things going there pretty quickly, first pitch of the game a leadoff double," Hudson said. "That's not how I drew it up. But it was a great experience."
Hudson settled down after that, retiring 12 straight batters at one point, before running into trouble again in the sixth inning when Kansas City added two more runs that ultimately proved to be the difference.
The Giants now trail 2-1 in the Series with Game 4 on Saturday night.
At 39 years, 102 days, Hudson became the second-oldest starting pitcher to make his World Series debut behind Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer, according to STATS. Moyer was 45 years, 342 days when he started the third game against Tampa Bay in 2008.
Hudson came close plenty as his teams made the postseason seven times before this year only to bow out in the Division Series each time. Despite waiting 16 years for the moment, Hudson said it felt like just another game.
"I thought he threw the ball great," catcher Buster Posey said. "I'm sure there were some nerves but he settled right in."
His teammates, many of whom have won it all previously in their careers, expressed great happiness in getting Hudson to baseball's biggest stage. Unfortunately for Hudson, they offered him little help once he got there, failing to score off Jeremy Guthrie until after Hudson left the game.
Hudson put the Giants in a hole right from the start when Escobar hit a drive off the base of the left-field wall. Manager Bruce Bochy said he though Hudson got "ambushed."
"Normally pitches don't get swung at to start the game too often," Hudson said. "It's a pitch in a ballgame, it can be hit. You still have to make decent pitches the first pitch of the ballgame. You have to give him credit. He could have popped it up just as easily as he doubled it."
He moved to third on Alex Gordon's groundout and scored when Lorenzo Cain hit a grounder to shortstop with the infield back.
Hudson allowed the first two batters to reach in the second before left fielder Travis Ishikawa made an awkward, diving catch to rob Salvador Perez of a hit and Jarrod Dyson followed with an inning-ending double play.
That started a run of 12 straight batters retired by Hudson that ended when Escobar singled with one out in the sixth. Gordon followed with an RBI double that made it 2-0 and Hudson left after getting Cain to groundout. He waved to an appreciative crowd as he walked off the field in what might be his only chance to pitch this Series. He wouldn't be scheduled to start again until a possible Game 7.
"I hope that we win the next three games, I'll be honest with you," Hudson said. "If I do have the opportunity to pitch again, it's something I'll definitely look forward to and be prepared as always."
The Royals added another run when Eric Hosmer singled off reliever Javier Lopez for the first run-scoring hit by a lefty against Lopez in the postseason since he joined the Giants in 2010.