Yadier Molina homers in Game 1 win against Reds

John Denton

By John Denton

ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals got a home run from a retiring legend on Saturday in Game 1 of a doubleheader, but in this instance, it was from veteran catcher Yadier Molina and not slugger Albert Pujols.

Pujols still sits two shy of the 700-home run plateau, but Molina hit a two-run home run and Dakota Hudson threw eight innings of one-run (unearned) ball as the Cardinals throttled the Reds, 5-1, in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Busch Stadium.

Pujols, who hit home run 698 on Friday night, walked in his first two at-bats against Cincinnati left-hander Mike Minor and then grounded back to reliever Kyle Dowdy in his third at-bat. Pujols hit into a double play in the sixth and grounded out in the eighth to finish 0-for-3 with two walks. The two walks gave him 1,000 in his career as a Cardinal.

Pujols started the game at first base and was slotted in the No. 2 spot in the lineup when Tyler O’Neill was placed on the 10-day injured list. It was just the second time in Pujols’ 22-year career that he started a game as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup.

Molina, who announced in Spring Training that this would be his final MLB season, drove a 3-1 pitch a Statcast-projected 393 feet in the third inning for his fifth home run of the season. With a single in the second inning and the third-inning home run, Molina moved into eighth place in total bases (3,116) in AL/NL history among primary catchers. He passed former Tigers great Lance Parrish (3,113 total bases) for eighth.

Tommy Edman had three hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, who had nine hits off three Cincinnati pitchers. Dylan Carlson, who drove five hours from Des Moines, Iowa, to St. Louis on Saturday morning after his activation, doubled. He had two doubles for Triple-A Memphis on Friday night in Iowa.

Hudson, who has battled command issues most of the season, was bumped from the rotation after his ERA reached 4.43. He was sent to Triple-A Memphis to get some work on Sept. 5, and he pitched well while working with a pitch clock at the Triple-A level. Hudson’s slow pace while on the mound has been a point of contention all season with manager Oliver Marmol.

Hudson (8-7) limited the Reds to six hits over a career-best eight innings while striking out five and walking two. The one run he allowed — on a TJ Friedl double in the seventh inning — was unearned because of his own throwing error that put Matt Reynolds in scoring position. Hudson won for the first time since Aug. 25 in Chicago.

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