Cards bullpen shines in blowout loss to Reds -

Cards bullpen shines in blowout loss to Reds

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By Scott Bierman By Scott Bierman

(BaseballStL) -- It wasn’t all ugly for the Cardinals in a punchless 10-0 defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

After Adam Wainwright allowed nine runs in two innings, starter-turned-reliever Michael Wacha entered in the third and worked four scoreless innings of relief.

“Nobody is really expecting that,” Wacha said of Wainwright’s early departure. “I just tried to get mentally focused as fast as I could and get warm as fast as I could.”

The Reds potent offense which pounded eight hits off Wainwright was held to only three off Wacha, who struck out seven and walked only one batter. Twenty of his 65 pitches thrown were called balls.

“He looked good and we just kept him rolling so it definitely gives us more options,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He threw the ball very well.”

Despite entering the game down by nine runs, Wacha understood that the importance of the relief appearance was to protect the Cardinals bullpen -- even with an off day scheduled for Thursday.

“I guess a little bit, but we still didn’t get the win out there,” Wacha said. “That’s what we’re all trying to go for, but it was nice not having to use as many relief pitchers as we could have easily. With the off day, I think everyone will be pretty fresh going into this next series.”

In addition to Wacha, Michael Blazek and Fernando Salas entered the game in relief to throw 1.2 and 1.1 innings, respectively, to close out the blowout loss. The only run allowed by the bullpen came on a 431-foot solo home run to lead off the ninth inning against Salas.

“It’s impressive,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Everybody did a nice job. Blazek came in and did a nice job. Obviously (Salas) giving up the one, but besides that it was just an opportunity for Michael to get stretched out a little bit and he made good pitches.”

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