Three takeaways from Cards' win over Marlins

Hudson gets 12 groundouts over seven innings of one-run ball; solid baserunning, defense key victory

June 12th, 2019

MIAMI -- Cardinals right-hander owes veteran teammate Adam Wainwright a phone call.

According to the 24-year-old, Wainwright, who is sidelined with a left hamstring strain, always tells Hudson that if "you want to win baseball games, you better go seven [innings]."

Hudson hit that benchmark for the first time in his young career in Tuesday night's 7-1 victory over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

"I'm pushing for nine every time out there," said Hudson, who allowed one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts in his 13th big league start. "It's a goal of mine; I want to go nine every time I get the ball. That's just a part of the game. It's next-level stuff."

St. Louis has won five straight games in which Hudson has started, with the righty compiling a 1.99 ERA during that stretch. That can be attributed in large part to his ability to induce ground balls at an elite pace.

Entering Tuesday, Hudson's 3.50 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio and his 61.9 ground-ball percentage lead the Majors. Those numbers have helped Hudson keep the ball in the park in 47 straight innings dating back to May 7. It was no different on Tuesday, as Hudson recorded 12 groundouts and no flyouts.

"That's his game," said Yadier Molina, who returned from the injured list on Tuesday. "When you see that, he's going to have a good game."

Below are two other factors that helped the Cardinals secure a series win:

Wreaking havoc on the basepaths
With the game knotted at 1 in the sixth inning, the Cardinals took a two-run lead thanks to some aggressive baserunning.

Paul Goldschmidt doubled off the top of the left-field wall and moved to third on Marcell Ozuna's infield single with one out. Molina followed by lining a ball to short. Miguel Rojas snared the ball, then threw to first trying to double off Ozuna. But the errant throw bounced away from first baseman Garrett Cooper, and Goldschmidt just beat the tag at home for the go-ahead run.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said that Goldschmidt is intentional about getting his foot down on the plate early for plays like that one.

“Our baserunning is always aggressive," Shildt said. "It’s really just about putting the execution at the plate with the baserunning. Our baserunning has been superior all year. We've been able to put ourselves in position consistently to do damage and score runs. Our offense was able to deliver a little more tonight, and if we do that consistently, we’ll have a lot of favorable outcomes.”

Later, with Dexter Fowler at the plate, Ozuna and Kolten Wong executed a double steal. Fowler would reach on a walk, and so would Harrison Bader, who drove in another run with a bases-loaded free pass.

Entering Tuesday, the Cardinals ranked second in the National League with 37 stolen bases. For a ballclub averaging 2.8 runs per game in June, it was an unconventional way to manufacture some much-needed offense.

"We just have to continue to grind, continue to fight," said Wong, who went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. "That's basically all we can do right now. We're just trying to have good at-bats, do what we can for the team and play for the team."

Backing up Hudson

Shildt decided to reward Yairo Munoz for his effort in place of Paul DeJong at shortstop on Monday by starting him at third base for Matt Carpenter on Tuesday. Over the past two seasons, Munoz has appeared at the position 29 times (seven starts).

Munoz went just 1-for-5 at the plate, but he flashed the leather at the hot corner. Munoz made two impressive plays coming in on the ball during Hudson's shutdown inning in the sixth.

“He’s an athlete. He can play anywhere. He can catch," Shildt said. "He does a lot of different things that help you win a ballgame."

But Munoz wasn't alone in supporting his starting pitcher.

Goldschmidt turned a double play to end the third inning, and Ozuna tracked down a liner with two runners on base for the second out in the fourth.

"I feel like every time I take the ball, I feel like our team is ready to win," Hudson said. "I feel like I'm ready to win when I'm out there. It's incredible to be able to throw a pitch and you've got guys making plays behind you all day. Ozuna in the fourth probably saved me a run, maybe two. For me, they put me in a situation continuously where I can just trust them. Make a pitch and they do the rest."