Friday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3
By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com
Dakota Hudson’s audition for a spot on the Cardinals’ postseason roster could not have gone any better.
Hudson, making his first start in more than a year as he returns from Tommy John surgery, worked five scoreless innings Friday night before the Cardinals got the walkoff win over the Cubs at Busch Stadium.
He allowed three hits, all singles, walked one and struck out four as he threw 70 pitches in his second outing for the Cardinals following six rehab starts in the minor leagues. Hudson allowed two runs in 3 2/3 innings in a relief role against the Cubs last week in his first appearance in the majors since last September.
Now the Cardinals have to decide what role Hudson will play in the postseason when it begins on Wednesday.
“This was the goal at the end of the year,” Hudson said. “Obviously things had to go perfect. I think the big thing was me just getting out there for one inning. Things have gone well and I feel strong enough to get out there for multiple. It felt good to get back out there for a start.
“I saw myself on the roster from the time I had Tommy John to be honest. I know it’s been a long road to get there, and it’s hard to say that, but that’s been the goal and that’s what drove the whole rehab process.”
It was another big night for Tyler O’Neill, who hit two homers and a double, stole a base and also threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the top of the ninth.
The Cardinals won the game in the bottom of the ninth on Paul Goldschmidt’s single off former Cardinals prospect Rowan Wick, giving them their 90th win of the season.
Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: O’Neill, who hit 11 homers in September, didn’t stop when the calendar turned to October as he tied Nolan Arenado for the team with 34 home runs. He put the Cardinals in front with solo shots in the first and fourth, then doubled and scored the tying run on a single by Lars Nootbaar in the sixth after the Cubs took the lead … The game stay tied until the ninth when Andrew Knizner walked with one out, went to second on a pinch-hit single by Edmundo Sosa, took third on a groundout by Tommy Edman and scored on Goldschmidt’s single, his 99th RBI of the season. It came one at-bat after Goldschmidt was robbed of a home run by Cubs centerfielder Rafael Ortega in the eighth.
On the mound: Hudson got nine groundball outs and did not allow a runner past second base …Genesis Cabrera relieved Hudson in the sixth and issued three walks before he had to come out of the game with what was said to be finger discomfort. T.J. McFarland inherited two of those runners and they both scored on a home run by Trayce Thompson … Alex Reyes and Andrew Miller both had to navigate around traffic in their scoreless innings before Giovanny Gallegos gave up a leadoff double to Willson Contreras in the ninth. He was bailed out by O’Neill throwing out Contreras at the plate.
Key stat: O’Neill became the first Cardinals outfielder to have three extra-base hits, a stolen base and an outfield assist in the same game since Bernard Gilkey on June 25, 1993.
Wainwright’s done deal: The Cardinals officially announced a one-year extension for Adam Wainwright, but he wasn’t prepared Friday to say for certain that 2022 will be the final year of his career. “Everybody knows it was either me play another year or the kids get a dog,” he said. “They said, ‘Dad we will go one more year.’ They’re going to just go take someone else’s dog if this doesn’t happen soon … Several of my favorite athletes growing up retired like three times. I don’t want to retire three times. When I say that I’m done I want to know that I’m done. I wil say the odds of my kids having a dog after next year are very, very high, I will just give you that. I’m not going to go on record right now and tell you that I’m 100 percent done because that conversation’s not been had yet with the family and that decision is not 100 percent and I want to be 100 percent when I make that decision.”
Worth noting: Cardinals’ chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., said a broadcast report that his family was considering selling the franchise was completely inaccurate. The report came from broadcaster Mike Shannon during Thursday’s game, saying the “word on the street” was that the family was going to sell the franchise. “I just can’t imagine in my wildest dreams where that came from,” DeWitt said Friday. “There’s been no thought in our family of selling. There’s absolutely zero interest in my son and I and the rest of our family in selling our interests. There’s nothing there.” … Wainwright said he will prepare for his start in the wild card game on Wednesday, eight days after his last start, with bullpen sessions and workouts. “I’m going to get off the mound twice in bigger bullpens,” he said. “I’ve had a couple starts this year on a week’s rest, so it won’t be completely new to me. At this point in the season another extra day or two is not a bad thing. This is a good time for me to lock everything in. I’m able to get an extra workout and an extra bullpen in. There’s some things I want to work on on the mound, honestly. I need to get a couple of the kinks out.”
Looking ahead: Jon Lester will get the start on Saturday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains