No Pujols homer, but Yadi hits one and Hudson shines as Cardinals beat Reds in game one Saturday

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina (4) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run...
St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina (4) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)(Scott Kane | AP)
Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 3:07 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - When a make-up game to kick off a double-header produces a sell-out crowd, you know something unique is going on.

That was the case Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium as Cardinals fans flocked to the ballpark looking to catch a glimpse of history. Sitting on 698 home runs, Albert Pujols was in the lineup batting second and serving as the starting first baseman for St. Louis. Against left-handed pitcher Mike Minor of Cincinnati, the stage seemed set for a special moment.

Ultimately, Pujols’ day ended unceremoniously with an 0-for-3 line, though he did reach base twice. Minor walked the slugger in his first two plate appearances, drawing the ire of the crowd who came to see Pujols have a chance to take the bat off his shoulders.

An aged 40-something position player did homer for the Cardinals⁠—just not the one chasing history on this particular afternoon. Yadier Molina drove his 176th career home run in the third inning to contribute to the Cardinals’ 5-1 win over the Reds in game one of the doubleheader.

Dakota Hudson returned to make the start in the day game as the extra-man on the active roster allotted for the doubleheader, and in doing so, may have thrown his name back into the hat for future consideration for opportunities to help St. Louis over the coming weeks. He traversed eight innings, allowing only an unearned run on a TJ Friedl RBI double in the seventh. Hudson committed a throwing error, sailing the ball down the right field line to allow the previous runner to reach and advance to second.

The eight innings marked a career-high for Hudson in the big leagues, leaving him one inning short of making some history of his own on a day where the fans were fixated on No. 5.

“One more inning and maybe one less throw down the line on my part,” Hudson joked. “So those are a couple of things I’d have wanted back.”

Hudson⁠—who sits on the list as one among an MLB-record 453 pitchers to have ever allowed a home run to Pujols⁠—admitted to being sucked into the moment along with everybody else as Cardinals legends Pujols and Molina wrap up their storied careers.

“Us as baseball players, I feel like a lot of us are fans of the game,” Hudson said. “We come into this⁠—I remember pretending to be Yadi. I could never play as well as either of those guys⁠—I ended up pitching for a reason. These guys have influenced the game in ways that have brought the future of the game to where it is. It’s a lot of fun being in the same locker room.”

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol was non-committal after game one on whether Pujols would be in the lineup for the night game against Cincinnati on Saturday. This story will be updated when that news is announced.