SAN DIEGO — Daniel Hudson needed a moment alone in the dugout to comprehend his long road back from two reconstructive elbow operations.
It had been more than two years since he threw a pitch in the big leagues, and he did just fine Wednesday night, tossing a perfect inning in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 6-1 victory against the San Diego Padres.
He was still a bit emotional afterward.
“It was great. It was a lot of fun. I don’t really have much to say. It’s just a lot of emotions right now. I’m just glad I was able to get in there. It went as well as it could have,” Hudson said.
Asked what he was thinking as he ran in from the bullpen, he said: “I hadn’t done this in a long time and it’s a lot farther than I remember. Again, I don’t really know what I was thinking. I was thinking so many different things: Please let this go better than the last time — and thankfully it did.”
He retired the side on 13 pitches in the eighth inning. Hudson, who won 16 games for Arizona in 2011, was warmly greeted by his teammates when he reached the dugout.
“I couldn’t really sit down. It was a lot of different emotions. I wish I could explain them all but I can’t,” he said.
Hudson became the fourth pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery in consecutive years and return to the majors.
“Even if I go out tomorrow and it blows again, it was all worth it,” he said. “It was a long time coming. Thankfully today came.”
Hudson hadn’t pitched since June 26, 2012, when he originally tore his ulnar collateral ligament. He underwent surgery 15 days later, performed by the late Dr. Lewis Yocum. Hudson tore the ligament again during a rehab start with Double-A Mobile on June 4, 2013, and was operated on two weeks later by Dr. James Andrews.
“It’s a long road back. He’s loved by teammates and everybody’s pulling for him,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
“He handled his emotions very well. Threw the ball well, good velocity. Kept it down for the most part and let his fielders take care of the balls.”
David Peralta had two RBI hits for Arizona and Josh Collmenter (10-7) won his third straight start, holding San Diego to one run and five hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked two.
The Diamondbacks scored three runs, two of them unearned, against Andrew Cashner (2-7) in an eventful fifth inning that included two hits, a walk, two fielder’s choices, a call at the plate that stood after a 2 1/2-minute review, a botched rundown and a runner called out on interference.
Collmenter came up with runners on second and third and one out and hit a grounder to rookie second baseman Corey Spangenberg, whose throw to the plate was just late enough to allow Alfredo Marte to score. Padres manager Bud Black challenged, but the call was confirmed.
That put runners on first and third. Ender Inciarte grounded to first baseman Yasmani Grandal, who threw home to catch Didi Gregorius in a rundown. But third baseman Yangervis Solarte appeared to be going for a quick tag and missed the throw from catcher Rene Rivera. The ball rolled into left field for an error, allowing Gregorius to score.
With Inciarte on second and Collmenter on third and the infield in, Chris Owings hit a grounder to shortstop Alexi Amarista, and Inciarte was called out for interference. Peralta then singled to bring in Collmenter.
Peralta tripled in Owings in the first.
Cashner allowed four runs, two earned, and five hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.
“He threw the ball fine,” Black said. “When you look at it, he was the victim of some circumstance there in the fifth inning. It was a well-pitched game. That inning got away from us a little bit.”
Peralta had his 28th multihit game of the season and got his 27th extra-base hit. His nine triples are the most by a rookie since Bryce Harper of the Nationals had nine in 2012.
BIG LEAGUE DEBUTS
Padres reliever Leonel Campos made his major league debut when he entered with one out in the eighth, retiring both batters he faced. R.J. Alvarez then made his big league debut when he entered to start the ninth. He allowed one run and one hit with two walks in two-thirds of an inning.
Diamondbacks: Doug Brocail, Mike Lincoln and Denny Stark are the other pitchers who had Tommy John surgery in consecutive seasons and returned to the big leagues.
Padres: Black said SS Everth Cabrera’s balky hamstring isn’t quite ready for him to be sent out on a rehab assignment.
Diamondbacks: Randall Delgado (2-3, 5.85 ERA) will make his first start since April 10 at San Francisco. He’s made two relief appearances against San Diego this season.
Padres: Ian Kennedy (10-11, 3.65) faces his old teammates for the third time this season and fifth time since he was traded from Arizona to San Diego last season.