(BaseballStL) – Repeat this recipe: solid pitching from your starter, sprinkle in a lead-off double from Matt Carpenter and add a dash of timely hitting from the big batters. That recipe, which brought the Cardinals success in 2013, proved to be the difference in their 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds Saturday.
Carpenter lead-off the game with his 10th double of the season and he then came around on a double to the left field gap from Matt Holliday. Then, much to the dismay of Reds’ fans, Yadier Molina took left Tony Cingrani deep to right center for his 6th homer of the season, to lead 2-0.
The Redbirds gained more offense from Mark Ellis, who scored Holliday on a sacrifice fly, and Jon Jay with 2 RBIs on the night, both coming on 0-2 pitches. Matt Adams also drove in a run as a pinch-hitter, driving the first pitch he saw.
Jaime Garcia, in his second start of the season, threw 75 pitches in 5.2 innings. But he started the game hot, striking out 3 of the first 7 batters, ending with 7 strike-outs. Garcia had thrown just 52 pitches into the fifth when the Reds scored their first run, a 2-out RBI single from Zack Cozart.
The damage could have been worse had second baseman Mark Ellis not launched all 5’10” of his body into the air the rob Devin Mesoraco of a base hit and possibly two RBIs to tie the game. Carlos Martinez came on in relief, earning his 12th hold of the season, going 1.1 innings and fanning 3 batters.
Jason Motte gave up a homer to former Cardinal Ryan Ludwick in the ninth to give the Reds life, and manager Mike Matheny had to opt for closer Trevor Rosenthal to enter the game. After giving up an infield single to Billy Hamilton, Rosenthal struck out Todd Frazier to give Garcia his first victory since 2013.
With Saturday’s victory and a Brewer’s loss, the Cardinals move to a 1.5 back of Milwaukee.
Sunday’s rubber match pits Redbirds’ ace Adam Wainwright against Mike Leake.