Series Summary 4/15-17: Reds vs. Cardinals

Randal Grichuk 2

Photo is credited to Associated Press.

In their first meeting of the year and last until early June, the Cardinals and Reds combined to score nearly 40 runs and smash 30 extra-base hits. Needless to say, pitching did not play a large role in this series.

Game One: Cardinals 14, Reds 3 — WP: Carlos Martinez (2-0) LP: Tim Melville (0-1)

St. Louis carried their high run production from the previous two series over to their first game of this three-game set with the Reds, hammering six long balls and outscoring Cincinnati by over ten runs.

Tim Melville, who grew up in a St. Louis-area suburb, made his second start of the season for the Reds. Melville’s outing did not begin as crisp as he would have hoped, as he walked the first two Cardinals batters — Matt Carpenter and Jeremy Hazelbaker — on eight straight pitches. Matt Holliday took advantage of the offset Melville by blasting his first home run of the season. After the homer, Randal Grichuk reached base on a fielding error by Eugenio Suarez. Catcher Yadier Molina singled, plating Grichuk and giving batterymate Carlos Martinez a lead to work with.

After surrendering singles to Zack Cozart and Suarez in the third inning, Martinez’s task was facing Reds first baseman Joey Votto. Votto turned on a 98 MPH fastball from Martinez, parking the pitch in the seats out in left field. The homer, Votto’s first of the season, put Cincinnati on the board and cut the Cardinals’ lead down to one run, 4-3.

The Cardinals got back in the run column in their half of the frame with a three-run shot from rookie Aledmys Diaz, the second long ball of his young career. Then, in the sixth, Holliday connected for his second homer of the night, this one coming off of Dan Straily, who replaced Melville after the third, to give St. Louis a five-run lead.

Straily, who was claimed off waivers by the Reds from the Padres in early April, allowed just one run in three innings of work to relieve Melville. The Reds are considering replacing Melville in his next scheduled start (4/20 against the Colorado Rockies) with Straily, who has logged over eight innings thus far with an ERA of

Martinez rolled through Cincy’s lineup after allowing the homer to Votto in the third, tossing a total of seven innings. By the end of the seventh, the Cardinals had built a nine-run lead, credits to two home runs — a solo shot from Grichuk and a three-run blast from Brandon Moss, who pinch-hit for Martinez.

For further insurance, Matt Adams, who was called upon to pinch-hit in the eighth, got in on the home run party, smacking his first of the season, a two-run shot to give St. Louis a 14-3 lead that they’d finish the game with.

Notes:

With two pinch-hit homers on Friday night, the Cardinals have six home runs off the bench this season. The Cardinals’ bench hit a total of four pinch-hit homers in 2015.

Game Two: Reds 9, Cardinals 8 — WP: Brandon Finnegan (1-0) LP: Adam Wainwright (0-2) SV: J.J. Hoover (1)

In the middle game of the season, the Cardinals and Reds played a classic American League game, one where runs were manufactured often, yet the score remained close throughout.

Aledmys Diaz reached base via a fielding error by Reds center fielder Scott Schebler with one out and Brandon Moss on first. Matt Carpenter singled, scoring Moss. Stephen Piscotty followed Carpenter’s RBI with three of his own, swatting a three-run homer off of Brandon Finnegan to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.

The Reds answered back in the fourth inning against Adam Wainwright, using a Joey Votto double, walk, Jay Bruce single, and forceout to plate a pair and cut the Cardinals’ lead down to 4-2. In the fifth, Cincinnati tied the score with three more doubles from Finnegan, Zack Cozart, and Brandon Phillips.

The tied score would not be that for long, however, as the Reds did further damage against Wainwright in the sixth. After Cincy scored one more time and put runners at the corners with one out, Wainwright was pulled from the game with a line that was not complete. Seth Maness came in in relief and allowed Wainwright’s two baserunners to score in addition to one of his own. Maness was replaced by Kevin Siegrist, who put a close to the Reds’ four-run frame.

With Blake Wood in the game to replace Finnegan, who followed up his no-hit bid on April 11 with no earned runs through five, the Cardinals got back in the run column with three singles from Diaz, Piscotty, and Matt Adams that scored a run. Randal Grichuk led off the seventh inning with a walk. With two outs, Grichuk attempted to steal off of pitcher Caleb Cotham, who was clearly annoyed by Grichuk’s eagerness to swipe second. Cotham made a pickoff attempt that Votto could not corral, allowing Grichuk to take second easily. Jedd Gyorko singled, scoring Grichuk and inching the Cardinals closer in the score column.

With an 8-6 lead, the Reds came to bat in the ninth against Jonathan Broxton. Jay Bruce promptly homered, giving the Reds a three-run advantage to carry with them to the ninth inning. J.J. Hoover, Cincinnati’s closer now since flamethrower Aroldis Chapman was traded, entered the game. Matt Holliday doubled to open the bottom of the ninth and scored on a two-out, two-run homer from Brandon Moss. The homer, which cut the Reds’ lead down to 9-8, did not affect the outcome of the game, nevertheless, as the Cardinals could not manage another run off of Hoover.

Notes:

-With nine doubles, the Reds tied a club record for two-baggers that they set in 1999.

Game Three: Cardinals 4, Reds 3 — WP: Kevin Siegrist (2-0) LP: Ross Ohlendorf (2-1) SV: Trevor Rosenthal (3)

The Cardinals and Reds scored a combined seven runs in Sunday’s game, differentiating greatly from the seventeen- and fifteen-run run totals the clubs displayed in the first two games of the series.

The Reds got to Cardinals starter Michael Wacha early by plating a run just three batters in, but it could have been worse for St. Louis. Following Zack Cozart’s leadoff double was a single off the bat of Eugenio Suarez, which allowed Cozart to make third base. Suarez was dancing off first, and Wacha noticed. So, Wacha made a strong throw over to first baseman Matt Adams, who dropped a sharp tag on Suarez to record 1-3 a pickoff, erasing one of Cincinnati’s baserunners and recording the first out of the afternoon. Joey Votto hit a deep fly ball to score Cozart and cash in on his fourth RBI of the series.

Starting for the Reds in the series finale was Jon Moscot, who was making his first major-league start since June of last season. Moscot was shelved for the remainder of last season with a dislocated left shoulder after making three starts for the Reds. Then, in early April, Moscot was placed on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain and was activated just in time to start on Sunday.

Jedd Gyorko homered with one out in the second inning off of Moscot, his second long ball of the year. Shortstop Greg Garcia singled next and scored on a double from catcher Eric Fryer, who made his first start of the season in place of Yadier Molina, to take an early, 2-1 lead.

The Reds snatched the lead back in their half of the fourth, beginning with a fielding error by Garcia that allowed Brandon Phillips to reach base. Jay Bruce singled, scoring the runner and taking second on a throwing error by Wacha. Catcher Devin Mesoraco singled, driving in Bruce and give the Reds their one-run lead back.

Matt Carpenter hit his second home run of the season in the fifth inning, tying the game. The 3-3 score would stand until the eighth inning, when Fryer stepped in the box with Aledmys Diaz on first and two outs to face relief pitcher Ross Ohlendorf. Fryer laced a double to center field, scoring Diaz and giving the Cardinals a 4-3 lead.

Trevor Rosenthal entered the game to pitch the ninth inning. In contrast to his last outing — one where he walked a batter and allowed a homer — Rosenthal made quick work of the Reds, recording the final two outs of the day with strikeouts.

Notes:

-Eric Fryer, who the Cardinals signed to a minor-league contract in November, went 3-for-3 in Sunday’s game with two doubles and two RBIs.

-With two hits on Sunday, Reds shortstop Zack Cozart is batting .483 in 29 at-bats with five doubles.

What’s next?

Reds: The Reds will return to Cincinnati to take on the Rockies. The Reds have lost just one of their six games at Great American Ballpark this season. The Rockies took two of three from the Chicago Cubs this weekend.

Cardinals: The Cardinals will welcome in the Cubs for a three-game series this week. The Cubs are coming off an aforementioned weekend series with the Rockies at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lead the National League Central by two games over the Cardinals.

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