Leake seeks fourth straight win in Cardinals’ series finale with Reds

Mike Leake is looking for his fourth straight win on Sunday as the Cardinals face his former team, the Cincinnati Reds.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — Eugenio Suarez and the Cincinnati Reds found out the hard way Friday night that you never take anything for granted on the bases against St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

After Devin Mesoraco drew a sixth-inning walk that filled the bases, Suarez trotted to third and then stopped about a step past third, believing time was about to be called and the Cardinals were about to make a pitching change.

Instead, Molina whipped a quick throw to third and Jedd Gyorko slapped a tag on Suarez for a stunning third out that erased a burgeoning two-out rally, helping St. Louis to a 7-5 win that put it above .500 for the first time since Opening Night.

“You’ve got to pay attention in the game,” a chagrined Suarez said afterward. “I wasn’t paying attention. My mistake.”

Suarez should get a chance to avenge that gaffe Sunday when Cincinnati tries to salvage a split of what’s now a two-game weekend series against the Cardinals (12-11).

Saturday’s game was postponed around 10:30 a.m. CT, moments after hail pelted Busch Stadium. As it turned out, the rain left shortly after that and left a dry window long enough for a game to have been played, although thunderstorms rolled through town all night.

No makeup date was announced. The teams play one more series in St. Louis on Sept. 12-14 and have a mutual off-day on Sept. 11, one that isn’t in violation of the rule that prohibits teams from playing more than 20 straight days.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny knew the season’s third postponement was a possibility from the moment he heard an ominous weekend forecast calling for up to five inches of rain in St. Louis, but is hoping the weather will offer a break so that a second straight rainout doesn’t occur.

“I imagine we’ll sit here until the sun comes up the next day,” Matheny said to MLB.com. “We have to play.”

The pitching matchup remains the same as Saturday, with the Reds (10-13) matching Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 6.86 ERA) against Mike Leake (3-1, 1.32).

Arroyo has won his last two starts, downing the Chicago Cubs 7-5 on April 23 in his best outing of the year, allowing just three hits and two runs in six walk-free innings while fanning seven. Arroyo has been pounded most of his career against the Cardinals, though, going 8-18 with a 4.84 ERA in 40 outings.

That includes a 10-4 loss on April 8 in which he ceded six hits and six runs in four innings, issuing three walks and whiffing three. Aledmys Diaz was hardest on Arroyo, belting a solo homer in the first inning and a three-run shot in the fourth.

Leake owns three straight wins, including a 6-4 decision on April 23 in Milwaukee that saw him allow three hits and two runs in six innings with three walks and five strikeouts. His only loss was a 2-0 verdict on April 7 to his former Cincinnati teammates, against whom he’s 0-3 with a 5.64 ERA in five starts.