(BaseballStL) — After struggling through six hours of rain delays and two one-run games, the offenses for both squads showed up early Thursday as the Cardinals were able to hold on to a one run lead.
The Reds struck first when the newly-27 Jay Bruce blasted a 450-foot homer off Lance Lynn in the first inning to score Joey Votto and himself. Todd Frazier followed suit, putting the Cardinals in a 3-0 hole to begin the action.
In the second, Matt Adams beat the shift for the third time, picking up a single off Homer Bailey.
Jhonny Peralta’s first official hit as a Cardinal followed, and came in the form of a laser home run to left field, scoring Adams and pulling the Redbirds within one.
Lynn found his form in the second, getting two weak outs and a strike out to hold off the Reds. In the Cardinal half, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong singled back-to-back before Matt Holliday worked a nine-pitch walk after starting 0-2 to load the bases with one out.
St. Louis failed to capitalize, however, as Allen Craig and Yadier Molina both grounded out weakly to the left side to end the threat.
The Cardinal defense continues to look rocky in 2014, with errors and miscommunication staining performance. After miscommunication between Wong and Craig led to a collision in right field, Holliday and Jon Jay - getting his first start - crashed into one another in left center, resulting in a dropped ball to load the bases in the bottom of the third. Lynn was able to pitch out of the jam.
In the fourth, Adams doubled down the line in left, which makes all, but one of his hits in 2014 to the opposite field. Jay made up for his defensive gaffe by doubling home Adams, and knotting the game at 3. He promptly spent all that good will, getting thrown out attempting to steal third before Lance Lynn struck out to end the inning.
Matt Holliday would record his first hit of the year next inning, doubling into the corner in left. Wong, who had walked before him, showcased his speed and scored from first to give the Cardinals 4-3 lead.
The Cardinals would again rally in the seventh inning, with hits from Holliday, Craig and Molina to increase their lead, tacking on three insurance runs.
And the Cardinals would need those three additional runs, as Pat Neshek gave up a three run bomb to Frazier, his second homer of the day, pulling the Reds to within one. Neshek would survive to pitch a 1.3 until Manager Mike Matheny called upon closer Trevor Rosenthal for a 4 out save.
Rosenthal faced the heart of the Reds order in the bottom of the ninth, in Votto, Bruce and Frazier. He was able to get both Votto and Frazier to fly out to left field, securing Cardinals 7-6 victory in the series’ rubber match.
The Cardinals travel to Pittsburg to play a 3-game series starting Friday.