(BaseballStL) — St. Louis featured all new hitters in the ninth, giving Greg Garcia, Peter Bourjos and Tommy Pham at bats to begin the inning..
Garcia grounded out to second, but Bourjos forced a throwing error with his speed. He moved to second on defensive indifference, but Pham left him there with a strikeout.
Xavier Scruggs pinch hit as the final chance for St. Louis, using the opportunity to pick up his first major league hit. It was a double, which notched him the first RBI of his MLB career as well.
Daniel Descalso got a turn at the plate next, singling into right field to put men at the corners for Mark Ellis.
The six hitter to debut for St. Louis in the inning, Ellis would get a fresh reliever. Unfortunately for him, that reliever would be baseball’s hardest throwing closer.
Aroldis Chapman came on to finish off the Cardinals, and promptly poured a 99 mile an hour fastball down the middle.
Ellis would chase a breaking ball on a 1-1 count, putting him down to his last strike. He fouled off a 101 MPH pitch on 1-2, then took 102 MPH to even the count. The at bat would continue to be back and fourth, With Ellis taking another ball and fighting off 100 and 101 consecutively.
The veteran infielder would foul off five pitches in all on his way to an 11-pitch battle. Unfortunately, he would strike out on the final pitch, trying to hold up but getting charged with the swing.
The Reds held on to win 9-5.
Tuivailala's debut and Reds score more
The Reds padded their lead off Sam Tuivailala in his major league debut, picking up two on a close play with the bases loaded.
A single and a walk started trouble, and a pop up made it two on with one out. The rookie was able get a strike out, but a single from Jason Bourgeois took away all vacancies on the bases. Grichuk fielded the ball and kept everyone in place with his throw, but Chris Heisey flared a pitch softly out to shallow right center in the next at bat.
Grichuk came sprinting in and dove, but just missed the ball with his mitt. The blooper scored two, and the Reds had a 9-4 lead.
Taveras starts a rally
Oscar Taveras got things started in the seventh inning with a leadoff double. Kolten Wong followed by flaring a ball out to center that Billy Hamilton couldn’t come up with.
With runners at the corners, the Reds opted to bring in Jumbo Diaz to face Tony Cruz in his first at bat. The backup catcher picked up an RBI when he hit a sharp grounder through the hole at short to make it 7-2.
Matt Carpenter finished a marathon at bat with a frozen rope into the right center gap, but Billy Hamilton tracked it down before it could land for the first out.
Jon Jay found a safe place to put a ball next, lifting a single out over the second base bag to score Wong from third and leave two on for Matt Holliday with one out.
Holliday muscled a grounder to short, forcing Cozart to his right. The potential Gold Glover dove and knocked the ball down, but could not make a play on the laser. Matt Adams stepped in with the sacks jammed, posting a .333 average with the bases loaded.
The big first baseman hit a ball off the end of his bat into center, too shallow to score Cruz from third. That left the last out up to Jhonny Peralta. After falling behind 0-2, he worked a full count to allow the runners to go on the pitch.
No springing would be necessary, as Diaz tossed ball four high and walked in a run to make it 7-4.
A.J. Pierzynski came in to pinch hit, already posting a 2-for-2 mark against Diaz. With the bases loaded, Pierzynski turned on a fastball and scorched it down the line. Instead of clearing the bases, the ball found Brayan Pena’s mitt as the first baseman went completely horizontal to rob the Cardinals of any more runs in the seventh.
A missed opportunity
The Cardinals had a flash of life in the sixth, getting Adams and Holliday into scoring position before flaming out.
With one out, Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina both went down on strikes to strand them.
In the field, Marco Gonzales came in to work long relief and Tony Cruz relieved Molina behind the plate.
Wacha exits as Reds take off
Wacha would exit in the fifth, reaching the pitch count limit established (70) in his recovery schedule without closing out the frame.
He probably should have, if it weren’t for an error by Kolten Wong. After Brayan Pena walked, Todd Frazier hit a check-swing grounder to Wong. The rookie came in planning to tag Price before throwing to first, but never secured the ball. Instead, he bobbled it and Price escaped. He would be unable to get Frazier at first, leaving two on and no out instead of the other way around.
Devin Mesoraco continued his hot night, doubling on a liner to left field for his third RBI.
Wacha exited with 4+ innings pitched, striking out three and allowing six hits. He was tagged for five earned runs, though not all of those would come off pitches he threw.
Jason Motte came in to take over, but was unable to slow the Reds. Instead, Brandon Phillips shot a double into right center to push the lead to 6-1.
An infield single made it first and second without an out before Chris Heisey grounded out to second. With men at second and third, Zack Cozart slashed a single into right for his second hit. It scored another run, making it 7-1 and leaving men at the corners.
Leake would ground into a double play to end the inning, but not before the Reds sent eight hitters to the plate.
Reds re-pad lead
The hanging breaking ball bit Wacha again in the bottom of the fourth, when Mike Leake doubled home a runner with a shot to the wall.
Zack Cozart was on with a two-out triple, and Leake’s fourth double gave the Reds a 3-1 lead.
Michael Wacha had been hit hard all inning with two line drives comprising the first two outs. Clever positioning had saved the Cardinals, but Leake found a hole.
The inning close with an absolute web gem by Kolten Wong. The second baseman chased down a seeing-eye ball from Hamilton, making a circus catch to prevent any further damage.
Cards break through
The Cardinals had a chance to strike again in the fourth, and this time they capitalized.
Matt Adams picked up the team’s third hit with one out, singling to right field with a full count.
Jhonny Peralta would moved him around to third with his 36th double of the season, a shot down the left field line that sent chalk flying as it landed along the line.
Yadier Molina tallied an RBI when he flew a ball high and deep to center, giving Adams enough time to tag and score.
Peralta would move to third, but be stranded there when Oscar Taveras struck out.
Reds score first
The Cardinals would sorely miss the potential runs they left in the first, as Cincinnati tacked on two in their half of the inning.
Billy Hamilton drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a ground ball and sat there as Todd Frazier popped out to second.
He wouldn’t need his speed to score, however, as Devin Mesoraco caught a hanging curveball from Michael Wacha and sent it over the wall in left field. It was his 23rd homer of the season and his first off Wacha.
Brandon Phillips popped out to end the inning, but the Reds took a 2-0 lead into the second.
Cardinals leave runs on the table
The Cardinals had a chance to put the Reds in a hole early, getting the first two men on. Matt Carpenter worked a six-pitch double before Jon Jay was hit on an 0-1 count to put two aboard without an out in the first.
But as quickly as the Birds grabbed the momentum, they let it slip away.
Matt Holliday stepped in and promptly hit into a double play, which was followed by Matt Adams flying softly to center.
Instead of an early lead, St. Louis went back to the dugout empty handed.