Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, Reds 3
By Rob Rains
It’s been a great start to the road trip for the Cardinals, and it’s been even better for Willson Contreras.
Contreras homered in his third consecutive game and drove in three runs to lead the Cardinals to a one-run win over the Reds on Saturday night in Cincinnati.
The Cardinals have won four of the first five games on this trip to Atlanta, which has the best record in the majors, and Cincinnati, which is fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
On the trip Contreras has five hits in the four games he has played, including the three homers, and has driven in nine runs.
Here is how Saturday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Contreras gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the first inning when his two-out single drove in Lars Nootbaar, who opened the game with a walk and went to third on a single by Nolan Gorman … A two-out walk to Nolan Arenado preceded the home run by Contreras in the third, his 19th of the season …The Cardinals scored what turned out to be the winning run in the fourth, when Masyn Winn reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double by Nootbaar, but they missed on a chance to add to that lead when Arenado popped out, leaving the bases loaded.
On the mound: Zack Thompson allowed all three of the Reds runs in the second inning, but shut them down over his last three innings, finishing his five innings giving up five hits, walking three and striking out six to earn the victory … The bullpen threw up zeroes over the final four innings, giving them nine scoreless innings in the first two games of the series … Ryan Helsley pitched on back-to-back nights, working around a leadoff walk, to earn his first save since May 23. It’s the first time he has pitched in back-to-back games since May 27-28 before he went on the injured list with a forearm strain.
Key stat: In his last eight games, Contreras has 10 hits, six ot them home runs, and has driven in 13 runs.
Worth noting: Helsley benefitted from a replay challenge that awarded the Cardinals a double play in the ninth, ruling a Reds baserunner was out because of interference when sliding at second base … With Tommy Edman starting at second base, he has now started at center field, shortstop and second in the last three games … At Double A Springfield, Victor Scott II stole his 90th base of the season in a victory that kept the Cardinals in the fight for a berth in the postseason with a week left in the season.
Looking ahead: Miles Mikolas will get the start on Sunday as the Cardinals try to complete a sweep of the three-game series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains