Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 5, Reds 2
By Rob Rains
At the still young age of 23, the Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty has already learned an important lesson about pitching, and it was on display again Sunday in his start against the Reds at Busch Stadium.
Sometimes, Flaherty said, he will make a good pitch and then turn around and watch it fly over the outfield wall. Other times, he will make a bad pitch and watch it turn into an inning-ending double play.
“To me home runs are like strike outs, they are going to happen,” Flaherty said. “Sometimes you make some good pitches that they hit out and then you make some other bad pitches that they don’t. There were some today. (Jose) Peraza hit a slider up in the zone for a double play.
“You could look at that and say, ‘Man, I executed my pitch’ and we got a double play. But I didn’t. He just hit it right at Paul (DeJong) and he started a double play. That’s just the way the game goes.”
The Cardinals turned three double plays behind Flaherty in his seven shutout innings as the Cardinals closed out a 7-2 homestand and moved to a season-high seven games over .500.
It was the 16th win in April for the Cardinals, their most since a franchise record 18 wins in April in 2008. They have two games left in the month to try and tie that record.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals gave Flaherty a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Paul DeJong doubled with one out, their first hit, and after a walk to Marcell Ozuna, scored on a single by Jose Martinez. Ozuna then scored on a sacrifice fly by Yadier Molina … Molina extended his hitting streak to 15 games, one shy of his career-high, with a bases-loaded single in the eighth that drove in two runs. Dexter Fowler’s double drove in the final run … Molina’s three RBIs gave him a career-high 19 for the combined months of March and April. His previous career best before May 1 was 16 … Paul Goldschmidt was 0-of-4, ending his hitting streak at 13 games … Matt Carpenter got the day off with Kolten Wong moving into the leadoff spot. He was 1-of-4, a double in the eighth that Scott Schebler lost in the sun … Jedd Gyorko played third and was 0-of-3.
On the mound: Flaherty allowed just four hits and one walk in improving to 3-1 and lowering his ERA to 4.06. He also was able to pitch around two errors while striking out four. The seven innings was his longest outing in his six starts this season … Andrew Miller was able to strike out Joey Votto in the eighth with a runner on first and the Cardinals leading 2-0 … Jordan Hicks came on for the final out in the eighth but after the Cardinals pushed their lead to 5-0 he was lifted and Dominic Leone took over to start the ninth, allowing three hits and two runs, before John Gant had to come in to get the final out and earn his third save.
Key stat: This was only the second time in their first 27 games of the season that neither the Cardinals or their opponent hit a home run. The other time that happened was a 4-1 win over San Diego on April 7. … The Cardinals are 6-0 this season when they did not allow a home run.
Worth noting: Top pitching prospect Alex Reyes, whose career has been interrupted by a series of injuries, broke the little finger on his left hand when he punched a wall following his last start for Memphis, General Manager Michael Girsch announced on Sunday. Reyes will likely be out about a month. He will be able to continue throwing from behind a screen during the extended spring training program in Jupiter. “He was frustrated with his performance,” Girsch said. Added manager Mike Shildt, “It’s just disappointing. Life is about growth right, and making adjustments and learning from things. I know he has had frustrations. He has hunger to be great and has high expectations for his career. He has put two years of blood, sweat and tears into getting back but two years is too big of a window to eliminate in a pretty short period of time. He’s frustrated it hasn’t gone as quick as he would have liked … He made a rash decision that figuratively and literally hurt him.” … Another of the Cardinals’ best prospects, third baseman Elehuris Montero, is on the injured list at Springfield because of a sprained wrist.
Looking ahead: Michael Wacha is set to come off the injured list and make the start Monday night in the opener of a four-game series against the Nationals in Washington, D.C. The Cardinals will have to make a move to open a roster spot before the game.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
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Here are the post-game interviews:
Mike Shildt, Jack Flaherty, Yadier Molina, Jose Martinez, Paul DeJong