Friday’s Game Report: Reds 4, Cardinals 2

Friday’s Game Report: Reds 4, Cardinals 2

By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com

It was the worst possible time for T.J. McFarland’s scoreless streak to come to an end.

Called in to pitch the ninth inning in a 2-2 game Friday night, McFarland gave up a leadoff single and then a one-out double to Jose Barrero that put the Reds ahead. They added a second run and finished off the win over the Cardinals in the opener of a pivotal weekend series at Busch Stadium in the battle for the second wild-card playoff spot.

McFarland has been almost perfect since he was signed as a free agent on July 1. He had not allowed a run in his last 18 appearances, covering 18 innings, dating back to Aug. 3.

The Reds had taken a 2-0 lead on homers from Eugenio Suarez in the second and Joey Votto in the fourth off Jon Lester before the Cardinals tied it on a home run by Yadier Molina in the bottom of the fourth.

Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: Molina’s homer was one of only five hits for the Cardinals. They had just one hit after the fifth inning, a one-out single by Dylan Carlson in the ninth. That hit brought the tying run to the plate, but Paul DeJong flew out and Harrison Bader struck out to end the game … The top four hitters in the lineup were just 1-of-15, with the only hit a leadoff single by Tommy Edman in the first. Nolan Arenado drew a walk leading off the fourth before scoring on Molina’s 11th homer of the season.

On the mound: Lester gave the Cardinals only their second seven-inning outing by a starter other than Adam Wainwright since June 20. He allowed only one hit besides the two home runs. Suarez hit his seventh career homer off Lester, the most he has hit off any pitcher. Votto’s homer, on his 38th birthday, was the 16th of his career at Busch Stadium 3, the most by any visiting player. He had been tied for the most homers at the ballpark with Ryan Braun … Luis Garcia pitched around a two-out single by Nick Castellanos in the eighth, retiring Votto on a ground ball, to get the tied game to the ninth.

Key stat: Molina became only the third player in Cardinals history to hit a home run in consecutive games played at the age of 39 or older. The only others to do that were Stan Musial and Ozzie Smith.

Worth noting: Edmundo Sosa was out of the starting lineup Friday night for the second consecutive game because of a sore left wrist. His status was said to be day-to-day. Sosa has started 14 of the last 18 games since Aug. 21 and over that stretch has 18 hits in 47 at-bats, a .383 average. Since DeJong hit his last home run on Aug. 12, he is just 5-of-38 and has driven in only one run after going hitless in four at-bats, striking out twice, on Friday night … Dakota Hudson will be back in Springfield on Sunday night for another rehab start.

Looking ahead: Miles Mikolas will get the start on Saturday night in the second game of the series. He is still looking for his first win of the season.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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