ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The first two batters of the game reached base against Dakota Hudson and everything could have slowed down from there and led the Cardinals toward another in their recent run of losses.
All the makings were there.
Hudson has lost his pace with runners on base before. The Cardinals had just failed to capitalize in the first inning with a runner in scoring position and no outs. And so many of their mistakes and missed chances from the past two weeks was there to greet them again in the first inning. But Hudson pressed on ... and on ... and on until the offense caught up with him.
The Cardinals' first-year starter pitched six stout innings and pointed the Cardinals toward an 8-2 victory Saturday against Texas at Globe Life Park.
Paul DeJong had the two-run double to break open the game for the Cardinals with a five-run fifth inning. DeJong added a home run later in the game for a season-high four RBIs. He came one RBI shy of tying his career best.
Harrison Bader had two hits and scored two runs. Matt Carpenter had two hit and doubled home a run in the decisive fifth inning.
In his first appearance of the season, Carlos Martinez handled the ninth inning as the third fierce storm of the day rolled overhead. The game already had been delayed 2 hours, 11 minutes by the first two waves of showers, lightning, and threats of a tornado. Martinez touched 97 mph with one of his first fastballs, hit batter, and pitched through intensifying rain to finish the game.
Hudson got out of the first inning with a series of groundballs. He struck out two batters in the second inning, and he gained momentum from there. The two runs off Hudson came immediately after the Cardinals had extended their lead to 6-0. It took Hudson seven pitches to complete the sixth inning, and he struck out five against only five hits allowed during his quality start.
With the rain and lightning gone, Cards Hudson faces a storm of lefties
With lightning strikes nearby and enough rain to turn the outfield into a bog, Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson had 2 hours, 11 minutes of a weather day to spend in the team's clubhouse at Globe Life Park and prepare, as needed, for Texas' blatant lineup.
Hard to imagine it took the Rangers much time at all to make the decision to stack the lineup with lefthanded hitters and switch-hitters.
The first eight batters in the Rangers' lineup will hit lefthanded against Hudson.
Lefties entered the game batting .388 against the first-year starter.
The Rangers lineup, and how they hit, now that the game is underway in Arlington:
1. Shin-Soo Choo, DH (L)
2. Willie Calhoun, LF (L)
3. Nomar Mazara, RF (L)
4. Joey Gallo, CF (L)
5. Asdrubal Cabrera, 3B (S)
6. Rougned Odor, 2B (L)
7. Danny Santana, SS (S)
8. Ronald Guzman, 1B (L)
9. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, C (R)
UPDATE: Lightning, hail, and ongoing downpour delay Cardinals-Ranger in Texas
The trip to Texas and the access to the designated hitter seemed to give the Cardinals all the reason they needed to give their lineup a different look. They had scored two runs in two losses in Atlanta, and both of the runs had come on solo homers.
They were shutout one night, and in the course of losing 12 of their previous 15 games have had some feasts and so many famines when it comes to offense.
The DH gave them a chance to fit both Harrison Bader and Jose Martinez into the same lineup -- and they have -- and look at rearranging the hitters, even if it's for a look-see at a different look.
Which they haven't.
After Friday's thumping of Miles Mikolas and a 7-3 loss at Globe Life Park, the Cardinals are sticking with a lineup similar to the one they've had for the first six weeks of this season. The Cardinals mustered three runs against the Rangers on Friday but two scored on the equivalent of outs -- a groundout and an error -- and another came in the ninth inning on Bader's solo homer. Outside of two cloudbursts of offense against the Pirates one day and the Braves later, the Cardinals have not had that sustained, drumbeat offense that characterized their successful run through the first 30 games of the season.
Severe weather, a flash flood warning, tornado alerts and even hail have sprinkled throughout the afternoon in Arlington. The outfield at Globe Life Park is swamped, though it's supposed to be able to drain well. The Rangers still expect the game to be played in late afternoon, early evening, though there has been no indication of an official delay -- or of the rain abating.
The Rangers are not doing anything cute with their pitching Saturday, turning straight to the planned starter, Ariel Jurado.
This is the lineup he'll face:
1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
3. Paul DeJong, SS
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. Jose Martinez, DH
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Dexter Fowler, RF
8. Kolten Wong, 2B
9. Harrison Bader, CF
Check back throughout the afternoon here at C-Beat for any updates from the game. There is a Tornado warning in the area, employees have been alerted to lightning in the vicinity, and the tarp is on the field with rainstorms in the area. There has been no announcement of a delay as off noon local time.