Lackey deals but Reds blank Cardinals for second straight night
ST. LOUIS — Their silent bats were only one concern for the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
Not only did the team’s scoreless streak extend to 22 consecutive innings in a 1-0 loss to the Reds at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals also lost outfielder Matt Holliday to another right quad strain — the same injury that caused the seven-time All-Star to miss 31 games this season.
Holliday pulled up lame while running to first in what turned out to be a double play to end the first inning. Mark Reynolds entered the game at first, moving Stephen Piscotty into left field.
"Only thing I do know, it’s the same spot as before," manager Mike Matheny said. "He’s getting an MRI tonight. No results as of yet, but trying to get it looked at as quick as possible to see the severity."
The loss of Holliday is another blow to a sputtering offense. The Cardinals have scored just seven runs in their last five games and all of their runs in the Reds series came on one swing of the bat: a fourth-inning grand slam by Kolten Wong on Monday.
"This is a team that will produce, can produce at times," Matheny said. "It just didn’t come as easy and we got to figure out a way to get it done and just haven’t been able to get it done the last couple of nights."
The Cardinals squandered another strong outing from John Lackey (9-6), who gave up two hits in eight innings and has posted a 1.67 ERA during his last nine outings.
Lackey’s only mistake was a home run to Jay Bruce in the second that barely cleared the fence in center field.
"I thought he (Randal Grichuk) had a pretty good chance to catch it, but the guy’s got some serious pop and it just kind of kept going," Lackey said.
Bruce called his homer, which moved him ahead of Barry Larkin into ninth in franchise history with 199 homers, one of the oddest of his career.
"I think it was actually ruled an inside-the-park home run," Bruce said. "The umpire after the home run told me that he kept the ball in play the whole time because he thought it was rolling on top of the wall and obviously it wasn’t, it was in the grass by a few inches, but I thought that was interesting."
Bruce’s blast was all Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani (6-7) needed as the rookie pitched seven innings of three-hit ball.
"Threw a good mix of pitches in there, I was working well with (catcher Brayan) Pena," DeSclafani said. "I threw my breaking ball a little more today and I think that made a little more of a difference."
Reds manager Bryan Price was impressed with the rookie’s resolve.
"What I admire so much about this guy is that he just doesn’t back down to the challenge," Price said. "To squeak out a 1-0 victory with no margin for error is really very impressive."
Aroldis Chapman collected his 21st save in 22 opportunities with a perfect ninth.
The Reds ended a nine-series losing streak in St. Louis and have won consecutive games at Busch Stadium for the first time since July 6 and Sept. 2, 2011. It was the first time Cincinnati won consecutive games in the same series since June 2006.
Cardinals: RHP Jordan Walden (right bicep) began a rehab stint at Triple A Memphis on Wednesday, pitching two-thirds of an inning in his first work since going on the disabled list April 30. Walden threw 15 pitches, gave up a hit and a walk and struck out one in a scoreless outing.
Reds: LHP David Holmberg will make his major league debut Thursday to kick off a four-game series at home against Pittsburgh. Holmberg’s presence means four of the five starters in the rotation are rookies.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (11-4, 2.34 ERA) is seeking his 11th straight quality start as the Cardinals cap an 11-game homestand with a four-game series against the Rockies starting Thursday.