(BaseballStL) — For eight innings, Great American Ballpark was home to either a marvel of pitching prowess or an absolutely excruciating exercise in offensive frustration, based on your worldview.
After two-and-a-half hours of rain delay and eight-and-a-half innings of baseball, a runner finally crossed the plate.
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Michael Wacha and Tony Cingrani dazzled for the first seven innings, striking out 16 combined while allowing only five hits. While Wacha worked in his newfound curveball to give the Reds fits, Cingrani used his devastating fastball to keep the Cardinals at bay.
“He was elevating,” manager Mike Matheny told reporters after the game. “He did show some off speed pitches, but his fastball is what made the difference tonight.”
After the Cardinals threatened in the top of the ninth, the Reds turned around and found their first run in 17.1 innings in the bottom half.
Carlos Martinez, after working starter-like innings through the spring, took over in the eighth (after Kevin Siegrist got the final out of the seventh) and was stretched into the ninth inning.
Trouble found him early in the final inning, as Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier both singled to begin the ninth.
Zack Cozart laid down a perfect bunt, moving runners to second and third. The Cardinals walked Brayan Penya, and brought right fielder Allen Craig in to play up the middle as a fifth infielder.
“They get the little things done, get the bunt down and get the guys over, and we’re stuck in a spot trying to pull a rabbit out of our hat,” said Matheny. “Carlos has the kind of stuff to get that done. It just didn’t happen tonight.”
Pinch hitter Chris Heisey fouled of one pitch before sending the second into the outfield to give Cincinnati the win.
Joey Votto and Ludwick powered the Reds’ offense with two hits each, while the Cardinals had only three hits as a team. Kolten Wong reached on a double to center field, while Matt Carpenter and Craig each notched singles. The Cardinals are now 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position to begin the year.
“We had a couple chances, and it all comes down to the big hit when you’re having trouble,” the Cardinal manager said. “Not getting many of them you just need the right one at the right time and late they put it together when they had to.”
Game 3 is scheduled for 11:35 CST Thursday.