Marcell Ozuna drove in four runs with a home run and double and threw a Washington runner out at the plate Monday night as the Cardinals defeated the Nationals 4-2 at Busch Stadium.
Ozuna hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a two-run double in the seventh to break a tie and make a winner of Dakota Hudson (16-7), who worked seven innings, allowing five hits.
The left fielder also robbed the Nationals of a run when he made a perfect throw to catcher Yadier Molina to get Asdrubal Cabrera trying to score from second on a single.
"That’s the second one he’s had for me this year," Hudson said. "His arm is looking really good and he got a perfect one in there to save a run."
Carlos Martinez, who missed Sunday’s game with a respiratory condition, returned and recorded the final out for his 20th save after Andrew Miller pitched 1 1/3 innings and John Brebbia 1/3 without incident.
Ozuna entered the game in a 7-for-62 slump, but he had previous success against Washington starter Stephen Strasburg. That showed in the first when he drilled a line drive into the left-center field bleachers after Dexter Fowler opened the game with a walk.
Fowler has been on a binge of walks, and he earned his 10th in six games to lead off the seventh. Paul Goldschmidt also walked with one out, and the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch.
Ozuna lined a pitch from Hunter Strickland less than a foot inside the foul line in left field, and it bounced into the stands on two hops, allowing both runners to score.
Washington scored one in the fourth and one in the sixth.
Hudson had been rolling along and recorded the first two outs of the fourth before he walked Juan Soto, allowed a single by Cabrera and walked Ryan Zimmerman. Victor Robles then singled to left, scoring Soto but Ozuna cut down the potential tying run.
"I didn’t think I had very much," Hudson said. "The ball was moving a lot, but I didn’t have the best command with it and had to battle with what I had. I felt I did a good job with what I did have."
The Nationals other run against Hudson came on a solo homer by Anthony Rendon, his 34th of the season, to lead off the sixth.
Ozuna doubles in two
Marcell Ozuna added to a big night with a two-run double in the seventh inning to give the Cardinals a 4-2 lead over Washington.
Ozuna hit a two-run homer in the first inning and threw a runner out at the plate in the fourth.
Dexter Fowler started the seventh with his second walk of the night, and Paul Goldschmidt walked with one out. A wild pitch sent the runners to second and third and eventually gave the Cardinals an insurance run.
Ozuna lined a pitch from Hunter Strickland less than a foot fair down the left field line and into the stands on two bounces, allowing both runners to score on the ground-rule double.
Dakota Hudson left the game after seven innings, allowing five hits and two runs.
Rendon ties game
Anthony Rendon opened the sixth inning with his 34th home run and Washington and the Cardinals went to the bottom of the seventh inning tied 2-2 at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson then retired six consecutive batters. The Cardinals were able to chase Stephen Strasburg from the game after five innings but have failed to score since the first inning.
Nats make it 2-1
Washington mounted a two-out rally in the fourth inning to score its first run but had the potential tying run thrown out at the plate by Cardinals left fielder Marcell Ozuna.
Thus, the Cardinals maintained a 2-1 lead at Busch Stadium.
Dakota Hudson was cruising along, having retired nine consecutive batters, when he walked Juan Soto with two outs. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a single and Ryan Zimmerman walked to load the bases
Victor Robles lined a single to left field to score Soto, but Ozuna made a perfect throw to the plate to cut down Cabrera.
Ozuna hits 2-run homer
Of all the Cardinals who have experience against Washington pitcher Stephen Strasburg, Marcell Ozuna has by far the most and was hitting .317 against the right hander before Monday night.
Ozuna took the first step toward possibly ending his recent slump by hitting a two-run home run in the first inning against Strasburg to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead at Busch Stadium. He entered the game in a 7-for-62 funk.
The homer was the third for Ozuna off the Washington hurler and his 28th of the season. His line drive cleared the fence in left center field after Dexter Fowler opened the inning with a walk.
The Cardinals put runners at second and third before the inning ended when Paul DeJong walked and Yadier Molina singled and stole second. But Tommy Edman ended the inning with a strikeout.
Martinez returns, cleared
Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez returned to the team Monday afternoon and said he was cleared to pitch and prepared to work out of the bullpen against Washington if needed.
Martinez missed Sunday’s game after spending Saturday night in a hospital, where he was told a combination of asthma and allergies triggered his breathing difficulties.
“I feel better today and the doctor gave me the green light to pitch,” he said.
Martinez first have breathing trouble during the team’s series against Colorado in Denver last week. He said he felt tightness in his chest and had to breathe through his mouth.
The problem continued upon returning to St. Louis, so he decided to seek treatment. Martinez said he was unaware that he had asthma.
“It was asthma and allergies I got in Colorado, so that combination was really bad for me,” he said. “It was the first time I’ve gone through something like this. Last year I had something similar but nothing like this.”
Martinez said he went to the hospital after Saturday's game and was released Sunday afternoon.
Although Martinez said he was cleared, he had not gone through any physical activity and that left manager Mike Shildt a bit unclear but hopeful.
"That is encouraging that he is available," Shildt said. "I think we've got hands around it, hopefully, but he hasn't exercised or played catch yet.
"It looks like he's going to be fine to compete tonight."
With him unavailable, Shildt turned to John Gant to start the ninth inning with the Cardinals leading Milwaukee 4-3. Gant walked the bases loaded before leaving with one out.
Tyler Webb recorded one out before Junior Fernandez entered to face Ryan Braun, who hit a 3-2 pitch for a grand slam.
"Of course, I wanted to be on the field," Martinez said. "Watching my teammates on the TV wasn't an easy situation for me. That's why I came here today. I wanted to recover as fast as possible so I can be on the field with them."
Martinez said the whole thing was a frightening experience because of the uncertainty surrounding his symptoms.
"You start thinking about all the people who love you and it was a really difficult situation, so I was real scared," he said.
Shildt concurred that the situation was difficult. He was with Martinez as he tried to work through his breathing difficulties.
“It was really scary," Shildt said. "People don’t realize it. I was with him for a fair amount of time after the game (Saturday). He was in a tough spot. One of the worst feelings that there can be -- not able to catch your breath and hyperventilating. I sat there with him, comforted him, prayed with him and just tried to be available there for him.”
Cards' lineup unchanged
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt will go with the same lineup for the fourth consecutive day as the Cardinals seek to rebound from Sunday's painful loss in the first game of a three-game series against Washington at Busch Stadium tonight.
They will face Stephen Strasburg, who enters with a 17-6 record and 3.49 ERA. He beat the Cardinals 2-1 in his only start against them this season May 2 in Washington.
The Cardinals' starting position players have hit .302 against Strasburg over their careers. Marcell Ozuna has hit .317 with two home runs.
Tommy Edman gets another start at third base in place of Matt Carpenter, who has not started since the final game at Colorado last week. Dakota Hudson is on the mound for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals start the day with a two-game lead over the Cubs in the NL Central and a three-game lead over the Brewers. The Cubs begin a series with Cincinnati in Chicago and the Brewers begin a series with San Diego in Milwaukee.
1. Dexter Fowler, RF
2. Kolten Wong, 2B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. Paul DeJong, SS
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Tommy Edman, 3B
8. Harrison Bader, CF
9. Dakota Hudson, P
1. Trea Turner, SS
2. Adam Easter, RF
3. Anthony Rendon, 3B
4. Juan Soto, LF
5. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
6. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
7. Victor Robles, CF
8. Yan Gomes, C
9. Stephen Strasburg, P