Cardinals take two from the Reds
The Cardinals took two of three games from the Reds over the weekend. The loss on Sunday was their first of the season against the Reds, and their first in the last 13 meetings between the two teams, dating back to last season. The Cards’ offense shined in the first two games, though the pitching wasn’t great. In the final game, neither the offense nor the defense showed up.
Friday night was the series opener. Game one featured a matchup between Luke Weaver and Matt Harvey. The game figured to be an offensive one, given the two starters, and it did not disappoint.
Weaver only lasted five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits. He walked five batters and struck out only three. The short outing raised Weaver’s season ERA to 4.35.
After the fifth, Weaver handed the game over to the Cardinals’ shaky bullpen. Austin Gomber, Sam Tuivailala and Jordan Hicks all did their jobs by holding the Reds at four for three innings. However, Bud Norris, who has been very good in 2018, coughed up two runs in the ninth that tied the game. It was Norris’ second blown save of the year.
The offense picked up Weaver and Norris. Jose Martinez hit two home runs, one in the and the other in the third, and drove in four runs. Yairo Munoz also went deep in the second with no one on base. Matt Carpenter helped out by driving in a run in the seventh, but Jedd Gyorko was ultimately the hero.
After Norris blew the lead in the ninth, Gyorko drove home Marcell Ozuna in the tenth, on a base hit to left that put the Cardinals back on top for good. John Brebbia came on in the bottom of the tenth and shut the door, earning his second save and the Redbirds took the win 7-6.
Michael Wacha took the mound in game two, coming off of an unbelievable eight-inning performance in which he didn’t allow a hit until the ninth inning. He wasn’t that good this go round, but nonetheless, he had a decent start. Wacha allowed just two runs over 5.1 innings and struck out six batters. He improved his record to 8-1 by taking the win.
Mike Mayers and Tuivailala each gave up one run in relief, but the offense again picked up the slack. Martinez and Ozuna went back to back on home runs in the first inning, Ozuna’s being one of the longest homers of the Cards’ season. Matt Carpenter got in on the action too by homering in the seventh inning. The big hit in this game came from the Reds’ killer Yadier Molina. A two-out, bases clearing, three RBI double in the third was Yadi’s 100th career hit against Cincinnati and it put St. Louis ahead for good at 5-0.
Jordan Hicks picked up his first career save by striking out three batters in the ninth. It was the Cardinals ninth win against the Reds on the year and their 12th in a row dating back to 2017.
St. Louis’ streak came to an end on Sunday. Even with Carlos Martinez on the mound, the Redbirds couldn’t take their 10th win of the season from the Reds.
The Cardinals had 11 hits on the day but the big hit they had gotten in the past two games seemed to avoid them. Two of the three runs came on RBI from Ozuna and Molina. The third was an unearned run scored by Greg Garcia in the sixth thanks to an errant throw by right fielder Scott Schebler.
Ten of the Cardinals’ hits came in the first five innings off of starter Anthony DeSclafani. DeSclafani allowed all three Cardinal runs but still out-dueled Martinez.
Martinez was only able to go 3.2 innings and walked a total of seven hitters. He gave up five earned runs on four hits and five strikeouts. His season ERA moved to 2.50 and the loss made his record even at 3-3.
Mayers came on for an inning an a third after Martinez exited. He held the Reds at five runs, striking out two and walking one. Brett Cecil came on after Mayers and helped raise the bullpen ERA just a little higher. Cecil gave up one run over two innings by walking three batters and surrendering one hit. His three walks gave the Cardinals 11 for the game. Brebbia pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but the offense couldn’t extend the game.
St. Louis fell to 35-28 on the season and 9-1 against the Reds with the loss. They still sit in third place in the National League Central just three games behind the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cardinals are heading back to Busch Stadium next to take on the San Diego Padres. Jack Flaherty will get the start Monday at 7:15 pm CT to get the series rolling. He will be opposed by Jordan Lyles who is 2-2 on the season with a 4.70 ERA. Lyles is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA against the Cardinals for his career.
Featured Image Gary Landers-AP
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