(BaseballStL) — The Cardinals didn’t waste any time getting the crowd on their feet in the home opener.
After Michael Wacha pitched out of trouble in the top half of the first, the St. Louis bats made plenty of it for Tony Cingrani in the bottom half.
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Matt Carpenter’s six-pitch at bat ended in a single to left, and Peter Bourjos finally pushed into the hit column to follow. Bourjos reached on a broken-bat flair into center field, his first time aboard in 15 plate appearances.
With two on and no out, Matt Holliday walked on five pitches to load the bases. After a conference on the mound, Cingrani eventually bested RBI machine Allen Craig with a 3-2 fastball for a strikeout.
The relief lasted all of three pitches for Cincinnati, as Molina took the fourth offering he saw from the Reds hurler into left center for a bases-clearing double to put the Birds ahead early.
Wacha faced trouble again in the third, giving up a leadoff double to Brayan Pena and an infield single to Cingrani.
However, Billy Hamilton helped the Cardinals out with a pop up to short, and Brandon Phillips followed by pounding a change up into the dirt, ending the threat with a double play.
In the fifth, Pena doubled again, eventually scoring on pinch-hitter Ronald Bernadina's double. The runs would halt at one, as Hamilton and Phillips again ended the threat; this time with the latter lining out to second.
Cingrani exited having finished only four innings on 88 pitches. All three runs were earned, but he did strike out five in his short tenure on the mound.
In the seventh the Cardinals poured it on. Bourjos, making the most of his debut in the two-spot, doubled down the left field line off reliever Trevor Bell. Holliday promptly drove him in with a double of his own, and three pitches later he was chugging around third to score on an Allen Craig single.
Adams would single, but the Birds stalled before putting the game beyond one swing of the bat when Jhonny Peralta flied out to center.
There was a final flare of drama in the ninth, when Trevor Rosenthal walked two to start the inning, then gave up back-to-back singles to cut the lead to 5-2. He would fan Pena, but a sacrifice fly would shave the lead down to two runs.
Finally the action came to a close with a flyout to left, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 record at home to start the year.