Molina homers, Cardinals extend Reds’ woes with 5-3 win
Yadier Molina homered and drove in three runs Friday night, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-3 victory that deepened the Cincinnati Reds' worst season-opening slump since 1955.
St. Louis came into the series with a stagnant offense but broke out during two games against the worst pitching staff in the majors, piling up 18 runs and 25 hits. Molina - booed loudly in each plate appearance at Great American Ball Park - has homered in each game.
The Reds lost their sixth in a row and have the worst record in the majors at 2-11. They also lost 11 of their first 13 games in 1955. Another loss on Saturday would produce their worst start since 1931.
Luke Weaver (2-0) allowed Devin Mesoraco's two-run homer while pitching into the seventh and beating the Reds for the third time in a row. Weaver is 9-1 in 12 starts since Aug. 2. Bud Norris allowed a hit and a walk in the ninth while getting his second save in two chances, fanning Tucker Barnhart for the final out.
Molina had a solo shot and a two-run single off Tyler Mahle (1-2), who gave up nine hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings. The Cardinals took control with five runs in the sixth, when Dexter Fowler had a solo homer and Marcell Ozuna extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single.
Joey Votto was back in the Reds lineup after getting a day off, ending his streak of 202 consecutive starts. He singled home a run in the eighth off Tyler Lyons and was picked off first base by Dominic Leone.
The Reds helped their depleted bullpen by selecting the contract of right-hander Dylan Floro from Triple-A Louisville. Right-hander Tanner Rainey was optioned. Reliever Ariel Hernandez was designated for assignment to create a spot on the 40-man roster.
Cardinals: Right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson made his third minor league rehab appearance, throwing a scoreless inning. He has been sidelined since spring training with a strained left hamstring.
Reds: Jesse Winker was a late scratch from the lineup because of a sore right shoulder. Phillip Ervin replaced him in right field.
Cardinals: Miles Mikolas (1-0) faced the Reds in 2012 and 2013 as a Padres reliever. He has yielded eight runs in 12 innings in his two starts for the Cardinals.
Reds: Left-hander Brandon Finnegan is expected to come off the DL and make his first start of the season. He strained his left biceps during spring training.