The Cardinals entered trying to get back to .500 after a slow offensive start, and had their ace on the mound to help get them there. Carlos Martinez entered with a 5-1 all-time record against the Reds, featuring a 2.76 ERA, and a 46/16 K/BB ratio. The Reds countered with de facto ace Scott Feldman, as Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani currently occupy the disabled list. In Feldman’s 1279.2 regular season IP with 6 different teams he has inexplicably spent just 5.1 of them facing the Cardinals. However, fans may recall him getting heavy use in the 2011 World Series, and surrendering Lance Berkman’s 10th-inning, game-tying single to center field during Game 6.
Carlos had little trouble retiring Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza, but Joey Votto gave him a battle. Votto fouled off 7 pitches in a 12-pitch plate appearance, ballooning Carlos’ pitch count to 22. Carlos ultimately prevailed, inducing a medium fly ball right at Dexter Fowler in center field.
Fowler returned the favor and worked Feldman for 8 pitches to lead off the bottom half, but was retired on a weak come-backer to the 34-year-old righty. Aledmys Diaz followed with a soft ground out to shortstop. Matt Carpenter continued his slow start to the season with a strike out to complete the frame.
Carlos was greeted with a home run off the bat of Adam Duvall to start the 2nd. Carlos thought he’d struck the slugger out 2 pitches prior on a hung slider, but Pitch F/X showed it right on the border, and the call went the batter’s way. After a duck snort to shallow right field off the bat of Eugenio Suarez, Carlos collected himself and induced a 4-6-3 GIDP off the bat of Scott Schebler, and a 5-3 ground out off the bat of Zack Cozart. 1-0 Reds.
After Adams flew out on a full count, Molina ripped the Cardinals’ first hit on a line drive that was trapped by a diving Hamilton in center field. Nothing would come of it, as Peralta and Gyorko would ground out to 3rd and 2nd, respectively.
Stuart Turner ripped a double off the wall for his first career hit to start the 3rd. Feldman bunted him over to third, but Carlos fooled Hamilton with a change-up for the strike out, and got Peraza to fly out to Grichuk in short right field.
Grichuk led off the 3rd with a laser that one-hopped the wall in right-center for a stand-up double. However, Carlos negated him with a poor bunt right out in front of the plate that Turner converted for a 2-5 FC. Fowler followed that up with a 4-6-3 GIDP.
In contrast to their first match-up, Carlos got Votto to fly out on the first pitch to start the 4th. Duvall also swung early, and knocked a single to left field for his second hit. But Carlos and Yadi combined for a strike-out of Suarez, and throw-out of Duvall trying to steal 2nd.
After Diaz struck out to lead off the bottom half, Carpenter lined a line drive throw the right side of the Reds’ shift for a single. Adams and Molina couldn’t do anything with it, and the offensive inconsistencies continued.
Carlos plunked the lead-off batter Schebler and Cozart made him pay. The Cincinnati shortstop lined a triple to the gap in left-center, scoring one and setting up a potential second with none out. But Carlos battled back and got Turner to whiff on a back-up slider, got Feldman to ground into a big 4-2 FC, and coaxed a ground out from Hamilton to prevent any further damage. Despite his struggles, he still had only thrown 80 pitches. 2-0 Reds.
Feldman continued to cruise, retiring Gyorko on a fly out to center, and Peralta & Grichuk on strike outs, his 3rd and 4th of the afternoon. Gyorko was at least able to put a dent in Feldman’s pitch count, working him for 12 pitches and raising his pitch count to 78.
The game turned in the 6th. Carlos got himself in trouble again, this time by hitting Peraza, then uncorking a wild pitch to advance him to 2nd. Votto knew to be patient at this point, and worked a full count walk. After a meeting on the mound, Duvall knocked his third hit of the game, which scored Peraza. Then Peralta bobbled a grounder off the bat of Suarez, and threw the ball into right field, allowing Votto to score. Carlos’ day was done. Brett Cecil was brought into this sticky situation and immediately surrendered a double that scored one, which was bobbled by Grichuk and enabled a second run to score. Cecil would retire the next 3, but the damage was done. 6-0 Reds.
With the wind completely out of the Cardinals sails and the crowd silent, Feldman struck out Greg Garcia and Fowler, then got Diaz to fly out to Hamilton. He was on a streak of 8 retired in a row, and was at 91 pitches.
Miguel Socolovich entered and was treated to the Billy Hamilton Experience. Hamilton used his speed to turn a single to right field into a double, then scored on yet another duck snort to right field. Socolovich recovered from that to easily retire three of the next four, incurring no further damage. 7-0 Reds.
Carpenter worked a full-count walk and Adams lined a single to right field that finally knocked Feldman out of the game. Blake Wood entered and was greeted with a ball scorched by the bat of Molina. To continue the theme of the game, though, that ball was impressively stabbed by Suarez, who converted a 5-4-3 double play. Peralta tapped out to 3rd to end the threat.
Sam Tuivailala, Eric Fryer, and Jose Martinez entered to pitch, catch, and play right field. Tuivailala walked the lead-off man, but retired Turner, Patrick Kivlehan, and Hamilton on fly balls.
Fryer managed a double, but Gyorko, Grichuk, and Martinez proved hapless against Wood. This game was not fun.
After not pitching for a week, Seung Hwan Oh entered to try to get some work. Votto rudely homered, Duvall walked, and Suarez crushed a single back through the box. Oh recovered to retire the next 3 and escape. 8-0 Reds.
Diaz singled to lead the comeback charge. Carpenter and Adams struck out to add some drama ahead of Kolten Wong, who grounded out to pitcher Tony Cingrani to end the game. There was no comeback. 8-0 Reds win.
Carlos Martinez: 5+IP, 5ER, 6H, 3K, 1BB. GSc: 35
Scott Feldman: 7+IP, 0ER, 4H, 6K, 1BB. GSc: 72
- Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler are just off. Fortunately they’re still working counts and fouling off pitches, but when they get a pitch to hit they just can’t make good contact. They’ll come around.
- The strike zone was a little tight at times, but since it affected both sides there isn’t much to complain about.
- Matt Adams, mercifully, had an uneventful day in left field.
- Billy Hamilton is very, very fast. He didn’t even steal a base today and was able to make his presence felt.
- Seung Hwan Oh still doesn’t look right.
- Fans’ patience with Jhonny Peralta is running thin.
- The Cardinals committed 3 errors between 2 pitches in the 6th. 2 by Peralta and 1 by Grichuk.
- Carlos didn’t pitch well today, but he’s certainly pitched worse. For example, last August 6, he gave up 6 earned on 7 hits in 5 innings for a 30 Game Score against the similarly lowly Braves.
- The Reds have not won a series at Busch Stadium since 2011.