(Baseball StL) — Opening Day in Cincinnati started not with a bang, but with a pop. Starters Adam Wainwright and Johnny Cueto spent most of the season’s first game slapping leather while hitters waved helplessly.
Click here for expanded mobile coverage
The two combined for 17 strikeouts and only six hits. At one point, Cueto retired eight straight Cardinals in-between hits by Matt Adams. The big lefty beat the shift in his first two appearances, notching a single and a double down the left field line, recording the only two St. Louis hits until Yadier Molina broke the deadlock.
In the 7th, Molina took the first pitch from Cueto over the left field wall for a solo home run. It wasn’t a towering blast, but it had just enough to clear the wall and give the Cardinals the lead.
Wainwright would finish out the 7th and be replaced, ending his day with 105 pitches, 9 strikeouts and 4 walks (one intentional).
Despite giving up his first walk much earlier than in 2013, Wainwright bolstered his strikeout numbers at the expense of the Reds’ speedster Billy Hamilton. Considered to be the fastest base runner in the game, Hamilton never got a chance to show his wheels, striking out all four times he came to the plate against the Cardinal ace.
Trouble found the Cardinal defense in the 8th, when a Pat Neshek walk to Brandon Phillips set the stage for Kevin Siegrist. He got Joey Votto to hit a grounder up the middle for what looked like an easy double play, but the ball skipped under Kolten Wong’s glove and into center to put runners at first and third with no outs. Jay Bruce grounded to Matt Adams, and the big first baseman chased Phillips into a rundown that left runners at first and second with one out. Ryan Ludwick then hit into what looked to be a sure double play, this time with Wong fielding it cleanly and tossing it to Peralta, but Peralta’s throw was dropped by Adams, and the Reds had life again.
Carlos Martinez came in for Siegrist to face Ludwick and finally ended the drama by snapping off a curveball to Todd Frazier for a called third strike.
Trevor Rosenthal picked up his first save, striking out two in a 13-pitch 9th inning. The Reds managed only three hits, and were shut out on Opening Day for first time since 1953.