Cardinals keep hitting, lift Hudson to win

July 6th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- had his fingers crossed, hoping the Cardinals offense would come through again, extend the lead and keep him in the game for at least another inning.

Heads-up baserunning from did just that in the top of the fifth inning of the Cardinals’ 9-4 win over the Giants on Friday night.

With one out and runners on first and third, hit a sharp grounder to Giants third baseman Evan Longoria and took off toward first. Not wanting to run straight into the out, Fowler hesitated for just a moment leading off at third base, enough to give Longoria reason to try for a double play at second and first.

When Longoria whipped the ball to second, Fowler took off toward home, and Wong was already crossing first base when the ball made it to the bag.

With a three-run lead, Hudson would bat for himself and get to pitch through the fifth, earning his seventh win of the year.

“I’m very thankful [the hitters] were out there having my back today,” Hudson said. “I want to get deeper in the game, but I felt like everyone else was right there. Bullpen was doing what they’re doing, hitters are starting to feel a little bit more comfortable with their swings. I felt like it was a good, total win on how we played the game today.”

With a third straight victory, a rejuvenated Cardinals offense was productive at the plate, backed up Hudson and the bullpen and scored in the first, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth innings to take the lead and tack on.

“That’s what the recipe is,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “Offense throughout, not only throughout the lineup, but throughout the game.”

Hudson gave up three runs, including two in a 36-pitch first inning when he walked in a run. It was the fourth consecutive game that a Cardinals starter wasn’t able to get through the sixth inning. But Hudson found a groove after the first and allowed four hits in his next four innings.

In his last start, Hudson only made it through 1 2/3 innings after he made a throwing error at second base that loaded the bases and allowed the Padres to score seven runs in the second inning of a 12-2 romp over the Cardinals.

But that was in June. Now, it’s July, and the Cardinals have gotten their bats working again. As Hudson settled in, the Cardinals offense was only getting started.

That included triples from and Fowler, bringing the Cardinals’ triples total to nine this year -- which matches the total from 2018. Fowler hit his second home run in as many days, adding himself to the mix of Cardinals home runs with and in the first inning.

“The stretch we’ve been going through, just to come out and swing the bats like that to start the series, hopefully we take it into the All-Star break and pick off where we left off,” Fowler said.

Although Hudson didn’t go deeper into the game, the Cardinals put together a balanced attack at the plate and behind him and the relievers that followed. It allowed them to keep pace in a tightening National League Central race and stay 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers and move a half-game behind the second-place Cubs.

“Just a reminder of what we’re capable of and what we’re going to look forward to doing,” Shildt said. “Guys are taking good at-bats, seeing the ball well, having proper focus in the right part of the strike zone and putting a good swing on it.”