Photo is credited to Getty Images.
This weekend, two National League Central teams clashed at Great American Ball Park, as the Cardinals met the Reds in Cincinnati for a three-game series.
Game One: Reds 7, Cardinals 5 — WP: Jumbo Diaz (1-1) LP: Seung Hwan Oh
On the strength of Scott Schebler’s first major-league home run in over three months, the Reds took the first game of their series with the Cardinals, 7-5.
The home run, a three-run shot off Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh in the bottom of the ninth inning, was the Reds’ third long ball of the evening and the third Oh has allowed this season.
Oh entered the game in a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the eighth inning. With a timely double play turned by his teammates in the infield, Oh escaped the jam, but he put himself in a new one in the ninth by surrendering two base hits to lead off the frame. An out was recorded, but Schebler, fresh off a promotion from the minors, hammered a 2-1 fastball from Oh 412 feet to right field, ending the game.
The ballgame featured five lead changes and a collective total of seven home runs, including a shot from Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. Along with the homer — his second of the season — Wainwright gave the Cardinals five innings of two-run ball.
Wainwright’s counterpart, Dan Straily, lasted six frames, and he, too, limited his opposition to two earned runs. Having both exited the game with two runs allowed, however, neither Wainwright nor Straily factored into Tuesday’s decision
Instead, it was Jumbo Diaz who earned the win, as he gave the Reds a scoreless ninth inning, accounting for the only scoreless outing from a Reds hurler on the evening. Taking the loss and the blown save was Oh, who was tagged with his second of each.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, the Cardinals placed left-handed relief pitcher Tyler Lyons on the 15-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his right knee; the move is retroactive to Sunday, July 31. In a corresponding transaction, the Cardinals recalled left-handed reliever Dean Kiekhefer from the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Kiekhefer was optioned to Memphis on Tuesday to make room on the active roster for the newly-acquired Zack Duke.
Game Two: Cardinals 5, Reds 4 — WP: Michael Wacha (7-7) LP: Cody Reed (0-6) SV: Seung Hwan Oh (8)
Backed by a four-run opening frame and Stephen Piscotty’s first home run in almost two weeks, the Cardinals edged by the Reds on Wednesday evening by a 5-4 score.
The Cardinals entered the second inning with a 4-2 advantage over the hometown Reds after a combined total of nearly 70 pitches were manufactured in the first inning. The Cardinals received two big hits from their nine men that came to the plate in the first inning of action against Cincinnati hurler Cody Reed, including Brandon Moss’s two-run double — his third extra-base hit in his last six at-bats — and an RBI knock from Greg Garcia that accounted for his third RBI over his last six games.
Michael Wacha allowed two earned runs over his five-inning start, while Reed allowed five in a start of equal length.
Reed was responsible for all five of the Cardinals’ runs on Wednesday, including the solo home run to Piscotty. The home run was the eleventh allowed by Reed in eight starts this season and led to yet another loss for the 23-year-old left-handed hurler, who is now 0-6 to begin his major-league career.
-By going 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch on Wednesday, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina saw his career-high hit streak of sixteen games come to a halt.
Game Three: Reds 7, Cardinals 0 — WP: Brandon Finnegan (7-8) LP: Mike Leake (8-9)
By riding six shutout frames from Brandon Finnegan and knocking around Mike Leake for more than a half-dozen runs, the Reds took the rubber game of the three-game series over the Cardinals, 7-0, squashing St. Louis’s hopes of winning at least two games in four of their five most recent series.
Aside from the ever-so-noticeable crooked number they put up in their run column, the story of Thursday’s matinee was Finnegan. Finnegan allowed two baserunners across his six-inning outing for the Reds, and both came on singles. The outing was the second consecutive scoreless start from the Reds’ hurler and earned him the second victory of his career over the St. Louis squad.
Meanwhile, Leake was smacked around by the Cincinnati offense for seven runs (six earned). Including Thursday’s outing, Leake has allowed at least six earned runs in each of his last three starts.
On the offensive side of things, the Reds recorded a chunk of their seven runs by way of backup catcher Ramon Cabrera, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs against Leake. Eugenio Suarez plated a pair, while Brandon Phillips drove in a run as well.
-With a walk to Adam Duvall in the sixth inning of Thursday’s contest, Cardinals starter Mike Leake snapped a string of no-walk outings that dated back to June 30.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will return home to face the Braves in a three-game series at Busch Stadium over the weekend, beginning on Friday.
Reds: The Reds will commute to Pittsburgh for a date with the Pirates. That series, a three-game set, will commence on Friday evening.