Hudson Delivers in Opener

(Busch Stadium) Faced with playing five games in a 52-hour time span, Dakota Hudson stepped up to help lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon.

“Just about executing quality pitches,” Hudson said. “Get out there every pitch and try to make a quality pitch. Just have to do it down in the zone. That’s where I feel the most comfortable with my stuff and trusting it to play.”

Setting career highs with 7.2 innings pitched and 8 strikeouts, Hudson (14-6) threw first pitch strikes to 17 of the 30 batters he faced.

“I’m a groundball pitcher, so the sooner they want to swing the better off, for me anyways,” Hudson said. “Just trying to attack. We’ve got two doubleheaders coming up so trying to do as much as I could and get as deep into the game as I could. That was just part of my plan.”

Hudson retired 11 straight Reds hitters after allowing a 2-run homer to Eugenio Suarez in the first inning.

“A hanging breaking ball and he’s able to get a good swing on it and pretty much hits the moon,” Hudson said. “But had a couple runs, a little spark in the dugout and came back out and just tried to do my best to compete so we could win.”

The Cardinals responded with four runs in the bottom of the first as Paul Goldschmidt drove in the first of two runs on the day and Paul DeJong had a 2-run double. Yadier Molina doubled in DeJong and later added his eighth home run of the season. Molina has now homered in four consecutive games.

“I think he smells playoffs,” Hudson smiled.

Lead-off man Dexter Fowler had three hits on the day, including his 16th homer of the season. His 20 RBIs in August is a career best and Dexter is the first Cardinals switch-hitter since Tommy Herr (20) and Terry Pendeleton (25) reached the mark in 1987.

“I got a lot of protection behind me,” Fowler said. “It’s just been the right opportunities.”

Second baseman Kolten Wong also drove in two runs–the result of a two-out, 10 pitch battle in the 8th inning where he doubled in runners from second and third.

“Obviously, he kind of got ahead of me real quick,” said Wong, who fell behind 0-2. “I just didn’t want to give in. I wanted to just battle and do what I could. That’s kind of been my M-O the past couple of days, no matter what situation I’m in, I know I can battle with two strikes with the best of them.”

First pitch of the second game of today’s doubleheader is at 6:15, followed by another doubleheader tomorrow and an afternoon game on Monday.

“Get as many hits as you can, get on base as much as you can, just take good at-bats,” said Fowler of their approach. “Try and go out, like I said before, get in the right situations and capitalize on them.”

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports, Bill Greenblatt/UPI

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