DeJong, Molina reach milestones in Cards' rout

Hudson, Ravelo collect personal firsts in series-clinching victory

September 6th, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' 10-0 win over the Giants on Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium finished a six-day homestand with eight games packed in. The Cardinals won six of those contests and have won 21 of their last 27.

“It didn’t feel like it was that long when you’re out there having fun like we are,” Cardinals starter said. “Playing good baseball, enjoying each other’s company, being able to go out there and play good baseball, have a blast doing it.”

The Cardinals’ 35-17 record since the All-Star break is the best in the Majors. Thursday’s victory gave them a series win over the Giants and a 2 1/2-game lead over the Cubs atop the National League Central, after Chicago defeated Milwaukee on Thursday night. The Cardinals’ surge over the last month has spilled into September, and it has the club looking to make the postseason for the first time since 2015.

“That was a heck of a homestand,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “That was a lot of well-played, really good baseball. We’re looking to build on it. We’re just keeping the gas down.”

While almost every part of the lineup contributed in Thursday’s win, there were four career milestones that helped spur the Cardinals to victory:

DeGone… 26 times

's two-run homer to dead center field in the first inning not only gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead, but it was also DeJong’s 26th home run of the season -- marking a career high and the most in a single season by a Cardinals shortstop, breaking his own record from 2018.

DeJong has gone deep in back-to-back games and is one of three Cardinals this year with 25 or more homers ( has 29 and has 25), making it the first time since 2008 that the Cardinals have three or more players with 25-plus home runs in a season. Those three sluggers anchor the middle of a lineup that has stabilized over the past few weeks and driven its production up.

“I think we all know our role now, with [Dexter Fowler] and Kolten [Wong] at the top, Goldy, Ozuna and me in the middle, Yadi, you never know what he can do, so it’s from top to bottom,” DeJong said. “You throw in Tommy [Edman] and [Harrison] Bader, it’s like there’s no easy out in our lineup. It’s about passing the baton. We can complement each other well.”

DeJong’s sophomore season has been a breakout one, earning him his first All-Star selection. It has awakened him to what he’s capable of, both offensively and defensively, and the power he showed Thursday is why.

“My natural strength is enough to do it,” DeJong said. “It’s not like I’m out here trying to create extra, that’s when I get in trouble when I try to create that power. Just being able to be myself out there, being able to hit dead center, it gives you the confidence to be able to handle most pitches in the zone.”

Molina makes more history

Every time straps on his catching gear, he continues to make his way into the record books. Thursday was Molina’s 1,927th time playing catcher, tying him with Jim Sundberg for ninth all-time in Major League history.

His RBI single in the third inning was also his 1,944th hit -- tying him with Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith for seventh all-time in Cardinals history.

Molina has been on a tear since his return from the injured list on Aug. 13. He’s hitting .333 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 22 games. He’s riding a 12-game hitting streak, four shy of a career-high 16 games, which he has done four times.

“He doesn’t strike out,” DeJong said. “He’s smart in those situations. You saw today with the bloop single, he worked a tough at-bat and got the job done. Two-out RBIs and base hits, he seems to do really well. He controls the bat well. He’s a vet. He’s closing in on 2,000 hits I saw, so I hope he can finish strong.”

Beyond his offense, Molina continues to impact the game from behind the plate. Thursday was the Cardinals’ 11th shutout of the season and sixth since Molina returned from the injured list.

"He knows what he’s doing back there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He gets really good arms to work with, and he works with them. He did quite a job on us. … You respect what he’s done over his career and admire the job he’s done. He’s a great player."

Hudson’s help

Hudson had a hard time hiding his smile after his base hit knocked in his first career RBIs. The Cardinals' dugout, on the other hand, didn’t try to hide its excitement. threw his arms in the air as the rest of the players cheered for Hudson.

“I think they were more surprised than anything,” Hudson said. “It’s been a while since I got a hit. It felt good to get out there and get one, especially with some guys in scoring position.”

Now his job is to try to find that ball he hit.

“If they didn’t throw it in, I’ll be pretty upset,” Hudson said. “It’s OK. I’m just glad to have been in that situation, help myself out, help the team out, keep it rolling.”

Hudson added two runs to the Cardinals’ lead, and he surrendered none to the Giants over his six-inning effort of one-hit ball. He walked two and struck out two, earning his team-leading 15th win of the season.

Hudson is also racking up career achievements on the mound. He paces all Major League rookies with 15 wins this season and is tied for second among all pitchers in wins in the NL. He’s just the second Cardinals rookie since 1967 to have 15 (Shelby Miller, 2013).

Ravelo’s round-tripper

actually experienced two firsts on Thursday: His first Major League home run, and his first Busch Stadium curtain call.

“Both are special moments,” Ravelo said through an interpreter. “But hitting the first home run in the big leagues, I think that takes the lead for that one.”

Ravelo’s 422-foot blast in the eighth inning exited his bat at 104.7 mph per Statcast, showcasing the power that the Cardinals like in Ravelo.

Ravelo played 838 games over parts of 10 seasons in the Minors before his first call to the Majors this year, and his first hit came on June 19 against Miami. Over his last six Major League games, he has hit safely in five of them, with four pinch-hits.

The long wait to get to the Majors was worth the feeling of that home run.

“All those years of sacrifice, hitting the first home run was a really nice experience,” Ravelo said. “Really grateful for it.”