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Cards' miscues hand Hudson hard-luck loss

May 2, 2019

WASHINGTON -- Even after failing to complete a four-game sweep on Thursday, the Cardinals head into a big series in Chicago with their rotation rolling. Dakota Hudson deserved better than a 2-1 loss to the Nationals in the series finale after allowing both runs -- one earned -- in six

WASHINGTON -- Even after failing to complete a four-game sweep on Thursday, the Cardinals head into a big series in Chicago with their rotation rolling.

Dakota Hudson deserved better than a 2-1 loss to the Nationals in the series finale after allowing both runs -- one earned -- in six innings of work for St. Louis. He took the hard-luck loss to Stephen Strasburg, who allowed only a run and fanned nine over 6 2/3 innings.

Yet Hudson continued a promising trend for a club that will begin its next three-game set Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field having won 10 of its last 12 and four straight series. Quite literally, Cardinals starters have given their offense a more-than-reasonable chance to win every night in that span.

In those dozen games, every starter completed at least five innings and allowed no more than four runs, and through their last full turn in the rotation, they’ve pitched to a 2.08 ERA (30 1/3 IP, 7 ER).

“I feel like we’re all kind of catching stride and trying to get better through every start,” Hudson said. “The communication and the leadership that we have on our starting staff, I feel like is what pieces it together. You’ve got guys helping each other and making sure we look right. And then we adjust and talk about it as we go through the week.”

Michael Wacha is the lone member of the quintet not to qualify for a quality start in his last outing, and he had the reasonable excuse of rustiness after he was activated from the injured list for his Monday outing.

Following a start delayed 2 hours and 32 minutes by storms Thursday, Hudson struck out seven while allowing only four hits and two walks.

“Dakota has been really good, and he was excellent tonight,” manager Mike Shildt said. “Really good stuff, a lot of late heaviness to it. Breaking ball was sharp, in the zone. He was on point and pitched a really, really good ballgame.”

Hudson saw the Nationals score both their runs in the fourth inning without registering an RBI.

With Shildt resting several regulars, backup shortstop Yair Munoz made an ill-advised and wild throw to first on Yan Gomes’ infield single that allowed Howie Kendrick to score and Matt Adams to reach third with none out.

Brian Dozier’s double-play grounder forced Adams across. And when Wilmer Difo flew out to end the inning, Washington’s second run became the first unearned tally allowed by St. Louis’ defense in 12 games.

“It’s a good number, I wasn’t aware of it -- I probably should’ve been,” Shildt said. “It speaks to how you win and compete in a lot of different ways. It’s a very different, complete team that is sincere about being just that -- complete players.”

Had their chance again

The Cardinals had their chance to make it four-for-four in Washington in the eighth, when Jedd Gyorko and Marcell Ozuna singled and Harrison Bader walked to load the bases for pinch-hitter Paul Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt got down 0-2 to Sean Doolittle, then ripped a very, very loud foul ball well beyond the left-field foul pole. The right-hander then ran the count to 1-2 when he took Doolittle’s fourth consecutive fastball off the plate, but he was retired when first-base umpire Quinn Wolcott ruled he’d failed to check his swing on Doolittle’s fifth heater.

“I swung too far and he called a Strike 3,” Goldschmidt said. “Obviously I went too far, so it is what it is. I had three pitches to hit there and I fouled them all off. I didn’t get the job done. He punched me out.”

From the dugout, Shildt visibly expressed his displeasure.

“The reality is, that’s a tough call. It really is,” Shildt said afterward. “The other side is going to be barking (if the call goes the other way). I don’t like to say a whole lot. Just really, just was frustrated seeing an inning end that way.”