Saturday’s Game Report: Athletics 8, Cardinals 3

Saturday’s Game Report: Athletics 8, Cardinals 3

Dakota Hudson has the best road ERA of any Cardinals’ starter this year, but it isn’t something he wants to brag about.

Hudson allowed four runs and could not get past the fourth inning on Saturday night as the Cardinals lost the opener of a two-game series in Oakland.

Hudson’s road ERA climbed to 4.50, which illustrates how bad Cardinals’ starters have been on the road this season.

The first inning again was a problem for Hudson, who allowed two of his runs in that inning. He has allowed 15 runs in the first inning in his 22 starts this year and has now allowed a total of eight first-inning runs in his last four road starts.

The loss dropped the Cardinals out of first place in the NL Central, a half-game behind the Cubs.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals trailed 5-0 before scoring their first run, on an RBI single from Paul DeJong in the sixth … They added a run in the seventh when Dexter Fowler reached on a leadoff walk and later scored on a ground out by Tommy Edman … Lane Thomas hit a pinch-hit home run, his second of the season, in the ninth for the final run … Marcell Ozuna returned from the injured list and was back in the cleanup spot, going 1-of-3 with a single and also drawing a walk.

On the mound: Hudson allowed two hits, walked three and hit a batter in the first inning, leading to the two-run inning. He also allowed two runs in the second, when he issued two more walks. He came out of the game with two outs in the fourth after issuing his fifth walk, needing 93 pitches to record 11 outs … The Cardinals combined walked eight Oakland hitters, and four of them scored … Adalberto Mejia made his Cardinals’ debut in relief of Hudson and allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings … Oakland led 5-2 before Tyler Webb gave up a three-run homer in the seventh after Mike Mayers had issued back-to-back two-out walks.

Key stat: Ozuna had not played since breaking bones in his fingers on June 28. He was leading the team with 62 RBIs when he was injured and was still the team leader when he returned on Saturday night, despite missing 28 games. The Cardinals went 18-10 while Ozuna was on the injured list.

Worth noting: To make room for Ozuna’s return the Cardinals placed Tyler O’Neill on the injured list because of a left wrist sprain … The Cardinals should be getting Matt Carpenter back as well on either Sunday or Monday. He reportedly was en route to Oakland on Saturday and is expected to be activated in the next two days … Yadier Molina played his third rehab game at Memphis on Saturday night. He had a squeeze bunt which drove in a run and struck out in two plate appearances and caught five innings … Paul Goldschmidt was named the NL Player of the Month for July on the strength of his 11 home runs and 27 RBIs.

Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will get the start on Sunday in the second and final game in Oakland.

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