Dakota Hudson wasn’t going to let another quality start slip away.
Hudson allowed just two hits over six innings, Harrison Bader and Paul Goldschmidt homered, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 6-0 on Saturday night.
Hudson (13-6) extended his scoreless streak to a career-high 18 2/3 innings as the Cardinals won their third straight and sixth in their last seven games. Daniel Murphy’s leadoff double in the second snapped Hudson’s streak of 8 2/3 innings not allowing a hit.
“I actually felt like I was kind of loosening up as the game went and starting to get in a little bit of a groove,” Hudson said.
The key to Hudson’s performance was a visit by pitching coach Mike Maddux to the mound after the 24-year-old walked two straight batters in the fourth. Hudson responded by getting Ian Desmond to hit into a 1-4-3 double play to snuff out the rally.
“Just reset and start attacking again,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “When Dak’s doing that, getting ahead and controlling counts, he’s in a great spot.”
The Cardinals moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Chicago Cubs, who lost earlier to Washington, for first place in the National League Central. St. Louis improved to a season-high 12 games over .500.
Hudson struck out two and walked three before being lifted for a pinch hitter after throwing 95 pitches. His 13 wins are the most among all rookies and Hudson is the first rookie to lead St. Louis in wins since Matt Morris in 1997.
“A lot of it is making the hitter adjust to you a little bit,” Hudson said. “You obviously see things as the game goes on, which I’m very fortunate to have (Yadier Molina) to make those adjustments with me. You’ve kind of got to just be aggressive with what you do and just try to work through as quick of innings as you can.”
Tyler Webb, Giovanny Gallegos and Dominic Leone completed the four-hit shutout.
Marcell Ozuna’s two-run single gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first. Ozuna, who reached three times, has seven RBIs in his last three games and is hitting .455 (5 for 11) during that span.
“Ozuna is hitting missiles everywhere, all over the ballpark,” Shildt said.
Bader doubled the Cardinals’ lead with a two-run homer in the second. It was Bader’s first home run in 45 games going back to June 8.
Goldschmidt’s 29th home run of the season capped the scoring in the seventh.
Rockies starter Chi Chi González walked the lead-off man in the first, second and fifth innings and each one turned into a run for the Cardinals. González (0-5) walked six and allowed five runs over 4 1/3 innings as the Rockies lost their third straight and their fifth in the last six.
“Just couldn’t get the ball in the strike zone,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He was around the zone, they weren’t big misses it looked like from our vantage point. It looked as though he just couldn’t get the ball on the corner inside the strike zone.”
Colorado center fielder Yonathan Daza was ejected by home plate umpire Paul Emmel after slamming down his bat after a called third strike to end the seventh inning.
“Here’s a young guy trying to get a big hit for us and the call didn’t go his way and he reacted,” Black said.
It was the 150th time Molina caught a shutout, which is the fourth-most among catchers since 1900.
“He’s a good shepherd at getting guys through it man,” Shildt said. “He’s the smartest guy I’ve seen on a baseball field.”
The Cardinals inducted third baseman Scott Rolen (who played in St. Louis from 2002-07), right-hander Jason Isringhausen (2002-08) and right-hander Mort Cooper (1938-45) into the team’s Hall of Fame before the game. Each year, fans vote for two modern-era players and a panel selects a veteran player.
Rockies: OF David Dahl (right high ankle sprain) is at least a week to 10 days away from resuming baseball activities.
Cardinals: OF José Martínez (right A/C joint sprain) will leave tomorrow to begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Springfield. 2B Kolten Wong left the game in the seventh after fouling a ball off of his right foot. X-rays were negative and Wong is considered day-to-day.
“I’ve fouled ball off my toes hundreds of times, but God this one takes the cake man,” Wong said. “That was a lot of pain. I’m glad no fracture. I’ll be back in a couple of days.”
The Rockies are expected to recall RHP Antonio Senzatela (8-7, 6.29 ERA) from Triple-A Albuquerque to start the finale of the four-game series against Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (6-6, 5.22 ERA). Wacha pitched four scoreless innings in his last start, a 9-4 win over the Brewers on Tuesday night.
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