Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Reds 1

Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Reds 1

Giovanny Gallegos saved the game for the Cardinals on Sunday, even though it won’t say that in the box score.

The most important two outs in the game against the Reds came after Gallegos relieved starter Jack Flaherty with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth inning, the Cardinals clinging to a 2-0 lead.

Gallegos struck out the next two hitters, Josh VanMeter and Scooter Gennett, to get out of the inning with the lead intact and the Cardinals went on to win the game in Cincinnati.

It was the kind of performance the Cardinals have come to expect from Gallegos, who has quietly not only become their best reliever this season but one of the best in the National League.

Since being called up from Memphis on April 7 for what was expected to be a short stay in the majors, Gallegos has pitched himself into the kind of role where he found himself on Sunday.

He has now stranded 26 of 29 inherited runners and has retired the first batter he faced in 33 of his 39 appearances. Gallegos also worked a perfect sixth inning with two more strikeouts.

In his last 21 appearances dating back to May 26, Gallegos has allowed only two runs over 26 innings with just two walks while striking out 34 batters. For the season Gallegos was issued only eight walks and has 67 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings.

Gallegos did get the win, his second of the season.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals bunched three hits, four stolen bases and an error to score two runs in the second inning. Yairo Munoz had one of the hits, an RBI single, stole one of the bases and scored the second run on the error … Munoz later drove in the third run with his second homer of the season, in the ninth inning. He also had a triple in his three-hit day leading off the seventh but was stranded there … The Cardinals struck out 15 times, their most in a nine-inning game this year … They were 1-of-8 with runners in scoring position … It was the second consecutive game in which they collected six hits, three of them coming from one player. Tommy Edman did that on Saturday night … After going 2-of-12 with seven strikeouts in the first three games of the series, Paul Goldschmidt was not in the starting lineup on Sunday but did come into the game in the eighth inning as part of a double-switch.

On the mound: Flaherty came out of the game two outs shy from qualifying for the win and thus saw his streak of consecutive starts without a victory extended to 11. He has not won a game since May 14 and the Cardinals had lost his last five starts. Flaherty pitched around four hits and two walks through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth when he allowed a double and single before hitting a batter to load the bases. He retired Yasiel Puig on a popup before being pulled from the game … Andrew Miller allowed a pinch-hit home run to Phillip Ervin in the eighth and Carlos Martinez got the official save, although a two-out walk brought Joey Votto to the plate representing the tying run. Martinez struck him out to end the game, the third time Votto struck out in the game.

Key stat: Sunday marked the sixth time this season Gallegos has relieved with the bases loaded and he has allowed only two of those 18 total baserunners to score.

Worth noting: Flaherty’s streak of 11 consecutive starts without a win is the longest by a Cardinals starter in the same season since Anthony Reyes began the 2007 season by going 0-10 in his first 12 starts … Tyler Lyons had a streak of 13 starts without a win spread across three years between 2013 and 2015 … This was the second time this season the Cardinals stole four bases in a game against the Reds. They had a total of just four steals in 15 games in July coming into Sunday’s game … Tyler O’Neill and Andrew Knizner each got their first steal of the season, giving the Cardinals 16 players with at least one stolen base this season … Eleven of the Cardinals 15 strikeouts came against Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani in just six innings. It’s the most strikeouts by a Reds starter against the Cardinals in a game in Cincinnati since Mario Soto had 12 on May 12, 1984 … After pitching two scoreless innings on Saturday night, Ryan Helsley was returned to Memphis on Sunday. Dominic Leone also was optioned to the Triple A club while Tyler Webb and Rangel Ravelo were recalled. Ravelo started at first base and was 0-of-4.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals road trip continues on Monday night with the first of four games in Pittsburgh. Daniel Ponce de Leon will get the start.

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.