The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Only when Dakota Hudson reached the dugout after being removed from the game did he realize something was different.

“Guys were giving me hugs instead of handshakes,” the St. Louis Cardinals starter said. “I thought, what was going on? I didn’t know it was a no-hitter.”

Hudson and two relievers combined on a one-hit shutout as the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 Monday night in a series opener between NL Central contenders.

Yasmani Grandal’s ground-rule double with two outs in the eighth inning off Giovanny Gallegos was Milwaukee’s only hit. Hudson was lifted with two outs in the seventh after throwing 111 pitches, and Andrew Miller got four outs for his fifth save.

St. Louis increased its division lead to a half-game over the idle Chicago Cubs. Third-place Milwaukee is three games back.

Also Monday:

Mariners 9, Rays 3: ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tom Murphy homered twice and drove in four runs, Austin Nola also went deep and had three RBIs, and Seattle beat Tampa Bay. Murphy had three hits and a walk, including a three-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the fifth. He has 15 homers in 52 games.

Rangers 8, Angels 7: ARLINGTON, Texas — The Angels squandered a six-run lead and lost to the Rangers in their first trip back to Texas since pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room near Arlington last month.

Nationals 13, Pirates 0: PITTSBURGH — Asdrubal Cabrera hit the last of Washington’s four homers and drove in five runs, and three relievers combined for 62⁄3 innings of one-hit ball in a rout of Pittsburgh.

Padres 3, Reds 2: CINCINNATI — Francisco Mejia hit a solo homer off the foul pole and San Diego held on to beat Cincinnati.

Royals 5, Orioles 4: BALTIMORE — Nicky Lopez and Nick Dini homered on successive pitches in the seventh inning and Kansas City stretched Baltimore’s latest losing streak to eight games.

Astros 5, Tigers 4: HOUSTON — Yuli Gurriel had two hits and drove in two runs as Houston built a lead with a big first inning and held on to defeat Detroit.

White Sox 6, Twins 4: MINNEAPOLIS — Jose Abreu hit a three-run homer in a four-run second inning, helping Chicago beat Minnesota.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 3: PHOENIX — Carson Kelly hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning, part of a three-run rally that sent Arizona to a win over Colorado.