Ozuna drives in five as Cardinals defeat Reds 6-3
ST. LOUIS — Marcell Ozuna’s right shoulder is healthy and he can finally focus on hitting, not adjusting to a new team.
“I’m just working harder every day, especially if healthy,” Ozuna said after hitting a three-run homer and driving in five runs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals over the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 on Saturday. “I’m just going to work and work and work every day, and then have success at the plate.”
Ozuna’s 10th home run of the season came after the Reds took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third.
Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in the third, and Ozuna’s homer put the Cardinals ahead in the bottom half.
Ozuna became the third Cardinals player to hit 10 by the end of April after Mark McGwire, who hit 11 in 1998, and Albert Pujols, who had 14 in 2006. Ozuna, fighting his sore shoulder, didn’t hit his 10th home run last season until June 16.
“I hit the ball harder every time,” Ozuna said. “When you hit the ball harder, everything’s going to happen.”
Ozuna gave the Cardinals a 5-2 lead in the fifth when he hit a two-out double off the right-field wall.
Dakota Hudson (2-1) allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, pitching into the sixth for the first time as a major league starter.
“We made adjustments in my last bullpen — moved over on the rubber a little bit,” Hudson said. “I felt like my fastball execution was a little better, and that’s a result of me getting a little bit better sink on it.”
Jordan Hicks pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in nine chances.
Harrison Bader had a run-scoring single in the sixth, his first RBI since he was activated from the injured list on Wednesday.
Tyler Mahle (0-3) allowed five runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings.
“I just pitched poorly all day,” Mahle said. “I was honestly lucky to only give up five there.”
José Peraza and Eugenio Suárez hit RBI singles in the third. Jesse Winker followed with a single, and center fielder Dexter Fowler made a one-hop throw to the plate to Yadier Molina, who tagged Suárez for the third out.
“Two outs there, you definitely have to take a chance and try to score right there,” Reds manager David Bell said. “If the throw’s off just a little bit it’s a run, and in most cases, it is off a little bit. In this case, Dexter Fowler made a perfect throw, and it was still very close.”
Derek Dietrich hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Shildt feels like Ozuna is finally healthy and showing the impact he can make: “He’s a really, really good player with a lot of different special skill sets, and now — thankfully for him and us — he’s in a place that he can use his skills.” #STLCards pic.twitter.com/mnppS9rlue
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) April 27, 2019
Molina made his 1,797th start at catcher, passing Benito Santiago for seventh place.
Reds: LHP Alex Wood (back spasms) suffered a setback and was scratched from his scheduled bullpen session in Goodyear, Arizona.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder cuff strain) will throw a 30-pitch batting practice session at the team’s Jupiter, Florida, complex on Monday. Martinez is scheduled to throw another session later in the week, and if he checks out well after that he will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment as he prepares to rejoin the club pitching out of the bullpen.
“”Right now, I feel comfortable,” Martinez said. “I think with one inning, it’s OK for my arm right now. I just have focus on the bullpen right now.”
Reds RHP Sonny Gray (0-3) will be making his first career appearance against the Cardinals on Sunday. St. Louis RHP Jack Flaherty (2-1) is 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA in four starts against Cincinnati.