Paul Goldschmidt’s 3-for-4 night led the way, as the Cardinals beat the Reds in the first game of the weekend series.
The Cardinals opened a three-game series with the Reds on Friday as Steven Matz took the mound across from Reds flamethrower Hunter Greene. Matz put together a solid start, throwing five innings of one-run ball while scattering seven hits and two walks. Greene uncharacteristically seemed unable to crack 100 MPH on his fastball and lacked control, giving up four hits, four walks, and three runs in three and a third innings. Paul Goldschmidt carried the offense with three hits and two RBI and Giovanny Gallegos held off a ninth-inning rally to close out a 4-2 for the Cards.
Dylan Carlson started the game with a single to left. Paul Goldschmidt followed with his own single to left field, but the ball got past Tommy Pham, allowing Carlson to score from first on the error to make it 1-0.
Tyler O’Neill, with Goldschmidt on second, got under a fastball and popped out to first. Nolan Arenado worked a six-pitch walk to put two on. Corey Dickerson struck out swinging under a fastball at the top of the zone. Tommy Edman then drew a walk to load the bases but Lars Nootbaar failed to cash in on the opportunity, striking out on four pitches.
Kyle Farmer led off for the Reds and grounded out softly to Matz. Brandon Drury got a sinker up and laced it into left for a one-out hit. Tommy Pham tipped another 2-2 pitch into Knizner’s glove for a strikeout. Joey Votto slapped a curveball into shallow left-center to put runners on first and second. Nick Senzel struck out swinging over the top of a changeup, stranding both runners.
Edmundo Sosa struck out on a three-pitch, slider-fastball-slider combo. Knizner rolled a slider to short for a quick second out. Carlson extended the inning with a four-pitch walk and Goldschmidt lifted a slider just short of the warning track in left, where Pham caught it for the last out.
Aristides Aquino tapped a curveball back to Matz, who threw to first for the out. Alejo Lopez, filling in at second for an injured Johnathan India, blooped a sinker over Edman’s head for a single. Aramis Garcia then put runners on the corners with a hard-hit single to left. Matz forced a ground ball from Colin Moran, however, that led to an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
O’Neill went after a first-pitch slider and chopped it to short for out number one. Arenado muscled a fastball off the end of the bat into left-center for a hit. Dickerson tomahawked a fastball above the zone and popped out to left field. Edman hit a lazy flyball to right that got caught by Aquino to send the game to the bottom of the inning.
Farmer struck out swinging at a good 1-2 curveball. Drury rolled a changeup down the third baseline where Arenado backhanded it and threw across his body to get the out at first. Pham drew a four-pitch walk to extend the inning. Votto chased a nasty curveball that dove out of the zone for strike three, retiring the Reds.
Nootbaar worked a leadoff walk and Sosa wore a first-pitch slider to put the first two batters on for the Cards. Knizner hit a major league popup to left for an out. Carlson stung a fastball off of Votto’s glove for an infield hit, loading the bases and ending Greene’s home debut. Jeff Hoffman came out of the ‘pen and was welcomed with a single by Goldschmidt that scored two runs to make it 3-0.
O’Neill, with runners on second on third after they took extra bases on the previous throw home, popped out to third. Arenado then stranded the runners with another popout to second.
Senzel ripped a grounder straight at Sosa, who corralled it and got the out at first. Aquino struck out swinging over a low changeup. Lopez grounded out to Matz, putting the Reds down quietly.
Dickerson turned on an inside fastball and dropped it into right for a leadoff single. Edman drew a walk. Nootbaar snuck a grounder through the right side, scoring Dickerson for the Cardinals’ fourth run and putting runners on first and second.
Sosa tore into a slider but Pham ran down the line drive to record the first out. Knizner froze on a slider that crossed the heart of the plate, striking out for out number two. Carlson popped out to the catcher as the Cards’ left two more on base.
Garcia drew a six-pitch walk on a sinker that fell just inside, off the plate. Moran followed with a single to put two on. Farmer rolled over a changeup that turned into a 5-4-3 double play. Drury pulled a sinker just past Arenado’s glove, scoring Garcia to put the Reds on the board at 4-1. Pham swung over a filthy curveball from Matz to end the frame.
Goldschmidt reached base for the third time on the night on an infield single to short but was erased when O’Neill hit into a double play. Arenado chased a slider that broke low and away and struck out to put the Cardinals down in order.
Votto smoked a sinker right over Matz’s head for a hit. Matz then got the hook in favor of Nick Wittgren, who retired Senzel on a fielder’s choice at second. T.J. Friedl walked, bringing the tying run to the plate in Lopez, who grounded out to first but advanced both runners to second and third. Garcia then popped out Knizner, ending the Reds’ threat.
Friedl remained in the game in right for the Reds while Dauri Moreta took the mound. Dickerson flew out to the warning track in left for the first out. Edman took an outside changeup to left for a single. Nootbaar followed with a lineout to left. Sosa flew out to center for the last out.
Ryan Helsley came in to pitch the seventh and struck out Moran with heat in on the hands. Farmer went down swinging as well and Drury flew out to left for a clean inning for Helsley.
Alexis Diaz took the mound for Cincy in the eighth and retired Knizner on a popout to right. Carlson followed with a flyout to left. Goldschmidt poked a slider to first for the third out.
Helsley got a second inning of work and rung up Pham on three pitches. Genesis Cabrera came in for the lefty/lefty matchup against Votto and hit him in the elbow pad with his third pitch. Senzel struck out looking at a curveball that painted the inside corner for the second out. Friedl chopped out to second as the Cards’ staff continued to keep the Reds’ offense in check.
Buck Farmer replaced Diaz on the mound and struck out O’Neill as he failed to hold up on a check swing. Arenado followed with a single to right. Dickerson drew a walk and Edman struck out, bringing up pinch-hitter Harrison Bader with two on and two out. Bader grounded out to second, sending the game to the bottom of the ninth.
Giovanny Gallegos came in to close the game and gave up a ground-ball single to Lopez to start the Reds’ half of the inning. Garcia popped out to shallow right. Moran split the gap in right-center for a double, putting runners at second and third. Farmer grounded out to short for the second out but scored a run, narrowing the deficit to 4-2.
A wild pitch to Drury moved Moran to third, but Drury popped out to Bader in center, sealing the 4-2 win for St. Louis.
The Cardinals improve to 8-4 on the season while the Reds drop to 2-12 after losing their tenth straight game. The series continues on Saturday at 3:10 PM CT on Saturday with Dakota Hudson scheduled to face off against Tyler Mahle.
Final Pitching Lines
Matz (W, 2-1): 5 IP / 7 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 6 SO / 0 HR
Wittgren (H, 3): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Helsley (H, 3): 1.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 SO / 0 HR
Cabrera (H, 3): 0.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 SO / 0 HR
Gallegos (S, 4): 1 IP / 2 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Greene (L, 1-2): 3.1 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 4 BB / 3 SO / 0 HR
Hoffman: 1.2 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 1 SO / 0 HR
Cessa: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 SO / 0 HR
Moreta: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Diaz: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Farmer, B: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 SO / 0 HR