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Wainwright Goes Seven Innings as Cardinals Drop Opener to Reds

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The veteran righty turned in his fifth start of at least seven innings but early Reds runs stood strong.

Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

In the first of a four-game series between the two divisional rivals, the Reds enjoyed a 4-2 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday night at Busch Stadium.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright found himself in trouble early, in the top of the first inning. After striking out Eugenio Suarez to open up the game, Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos recorded back-to-back singles, and Tyler Stephenson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wainwright hit the very next batter, Tyler Naquin, and the Reds took a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, Reds rookie Vladimir Gutierrez took the mound to make just his second Major League start. Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman greeted him with a leadoff single and stole second base — his 11th steal of the season. Dylan Carlson grounded out next, but this allowed Edman to take third and later score on a single to left from Tyler O’Neill. O’Neill took second on Nolan Arenado’s groundout and scored on a two-out base hit from Yadier Molina. The Cardinals had a 2-1 lead... but it wouldn’t last long.

In the top of the second inning, Jonathan India opened the frame with a single to left and eventually scored on Jesse Winker’s team-leading 14th homer of the season to give Cincinnati a 3-2 lead. That long ball from Winker — a blast that traveled 425 feet, hit off of a 73 MPH Wainwright curveball — proved to be all the Reds would need on Thursday evening.

Wainwright settled down after the second inning and went on to log seven total innings in the ballgame, allowing the three earned runs on eight hits. Daniel Ponce de Leon worked the eighth inning in relief of Wainwright and walked two batters. Although he recorded his three outs in the inning via strikeouts, one of his walks scored on a double from Tucker Barnhart. The Reds upped their lead to 4-2, and they went on to win by that same score.

Gutierrez lasted five innings and held the Cardinals to just three hits. Following Gutierrez on the mound for the Reds was Tejay Antone, who worked the sixth and seventh innings. Lucas Sims recorded the final six outs of the game, in the eighth and ninth, to secure his fourth save of 2021 and the first big league win of Gutierrez’s career.

Overall, the Reds went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Thursday night and stranded 10 runners on base, even though Cardinals pitchers walked (only) two batters. Edman had two of St. Louis’s six hits — which were all singles. With their 284th start together, Wainwright and Molina now have the fourth-most starts as a battery in MLB history.

The Cardinals and Reds will meet again on Friday evening. Same time, same place. Kwang Hyun Kim will go for St. Louis, opposite of Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo.