Cincinnati 5, St. Louis 2
When: 12:35 PM ET, Thursday, June 8, 2017
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
Bill Welke, 1B -
Chad Fairchild, 2B -
David Rackley, 3B -
CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds are going to score runs. This much is certain.
But if they are going to climb above the .500 mark to stay and make a realistic push toward the postseason, the Reds need consistent outings from their starting pitchers.
"As good as we are offensively, we can't win slugfests often enough," said manager Bryan Price.
This week's four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals showed just how good the Reds could be if their starting pitching holds up.
On Thursday afternoon, Joey Votto belted a two-run homer to highlight a 4-for-4 performance as Cincinnati completed its sweep of the Cardinals with a 5-2 victory at Great American Ball Park.
Scott Feldman (5-4) pitched a gem for the Reds (29-30), allowing only four hits with no walks and four strikeouts through seven innings. This after right-hander Tim Adleman allowed a run over seven innings on Tuesday.
By the end of June, the Reds expect to have injured starters Brandon Finnegan and Homer Bailey back in the rotation.
"The way that we're capable of scoring runs, if we can keep the team in the game like we did in this series, good things are going to happen," Feldman said. "Got to give the guys in our lineup credit. Makes our job all that more important to just limit the damage because we know our guys can really swing the bats."
The Reds swept the Cardinals in a four-game series for the first time since May 5-8, 2003, barely a month after Great American Ball Park opened.
"All-around, a great series," Price said. "This group is chasing wins, not (individual) numbers."
Adam Duvall, batting fourth behind Votto on Thursday, went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Matt Carpenter hit a two-run home run for St. Louis (26-32), which now has lost a season-high seven straight games for the first time since 2013.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny lamented his team's lack of execution throughout the four-game series.
During the Reds' three-run fifth inning on Thursday, St. Louis missed a cutoff man, and a high throw from catcher Yadier Molina on a stolen base attempt sailed into center allowing a run to score.
"We've had lots of messages, and the message is be consistent," Matheny said. "When you go through this stuff ... the first place you look is in the mirror, figure out what each and every one of us can do better. We've got a lot of guys who have been through runs like this. This is baseball. It's heavy right now, there's no doubt. We're going to snap out of this."
Raisel Iglesias struck out two in the ninth to earn his 12th save.
Feldman retired the first nine batters he faced before Carpenter led off the fourth inning with a single. Feldman then retired three straight batters to strand Carpenter at third.
Cardinals starter Mike Leake walked a tightrope through the first four innings, with Cincinnati collecting seven hits and a walk but no runs.
The Reds had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth before Billy Hamilton grounded to Carpenter, who stepped on first then threw home where Scooter Gennett was tagged out to complete an inning-ending double play.
Cincinnati finally broke through against Leake in the fifth.
The combination of Votto and Duvall combined to go 6-for-6 through the first five innings. Duvall's one-out double in the fifth drove home Votto to put the Reds ahead. Gennett then delivered an RBI single to make the score 2-0.
"I thought I had pretty decent stuff," Leake said. "They were putting the ball in play, finding some holes here and there. Being able to make a pitch when I needed to was big today."
Leake (5-5) allowed two earned runs on 10 hits through five innings.
Votto's two-run home run on the first pitch he saw from Tyler Lyons made the score 5-0 in the sixth. It was his 16th home run of the season, with seven coming on the first pitch.
The series featured Gennett's historic four-homer night on Tuesday, Patrick Kivlehan's three-run pinch-hit home run to tie the score in Wednesday's win, and Votto's four-hit performance Thursday.
But, was it a turning point for the Reds?
"It's really early in the season," Votto said. "We've had some good stretches so far. I don't know, we'll see."
NOTES: Reds LHP Brandon Finnegan will start for Double-A Pensacola on Sunday. He has been on the disabled list since April 16 with a left shoulder injury. ... The Reds do not expect RHP Anthony DeSclafani (elbow) to throw off the mound until late June and not likely to return until early August. ... Cardinals CF Dexter Fowler batted second, snapping his streak of 240 consecutive starts as a leadoff hitter. The last time he didn't bat leadoff was July 6, 2015. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
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