After another long rain delay, Cardinals hold off Reds
The defending National League champions opened the season with a lot of waiting. And a couple of wins, too.
The St. Louis Cardinals overcame another long delay and Todd Frazier’s two homers on Thursday, holding on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 and take two of three in their season-opening series.
The first pitch was delayed 3 hours, 42 minutes because of rain. Some of the Cardinals spent their down time by studying Cincinnati’s pitchers again and getting a little extra work in the indoor batting cages.
"It’s tough to stay mentally into it," said Matt Adams, who had a single and a pair of doubles. "That’s what we had to do to make sure we could go out there and perform. We’re watching video and taking swings in the cage and stretching and making sure we’re ready to go."
Finally on the field, the Cardinals emerged from their two-game hitting slump by knocking Homer Bailey (0-1) out of the game in the fifth inning. Jhonny Peralta homered to get it going.
It wasn’t perfect — St. Louis stranded eight runners — but it was much better.
"We had a lot of opportunities that we missed, too," manager Mike Matheny said. "We had a lot of guys in scoring position."
St. Louis pulled away with three runs in the seventh, when Matt Holliday’s single off the top of the outfield wall was upheld by the only video review of the series, this one initiated by the umpires.
Lance Lynn (1-0) gave up Jay Bruce’s two-run homer and Frazier’s solo shot during five innings. Frazier added a three-run homer in the seventh that cut it to 7-6. Trevor Rosenthal got the last four outs for his second save.
The series involved nearly as much waiting as playing.
There was a 2-hour, 40-minute delay before Wednesday’s game, a 1-0 victory by Cincinnati. Along with the delay on Thursday, the teams wound up waiting 6 hours, 22 minutes to play during the two days.
As Thursday’s delay stretched on, Reds reliever Sam LeCure tweeted: "Uncle."
"The whole series was kind of weird with all the rain and stuff," Frazier said. "It really put a damper on things."
The starters had a rough time after the delay.
Lynn beat the Reds three times last season, but couldn’t get a 1-2-3 inning on Thursday. Bruce and Frazier hit back-to-back homers in the first for a 3-0 lead. Even Bailey had a single off Lynn, who gave up eight hits while throwing 107 pitches.
Peralta hit a two-run homer in the second off Bailey, and the Cardinals tied it with a breakthrough hit in the fourth. Adams doubled and came around on Jon Jay’s double, the Cardinals’ first hit with a runner in scoring position this season. They had been 0 for 17.
Jay’s hit also extended his hitting streak to 15 games, including the end of last season.
Holliday’s first hit of the season, an RBI double, put the Cardinals up 4-3 in the fifth. Bailey lasted only 4 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits, three walks and four runs.
The Cardinals added three in the seventh, when they loaded the bases on a pair of walks and Holliday’s single off the top of the wall. The ball went over Billy Hamilton’s glove and deflected to Bruce, who caught the ball. The umpires correctly ruled that it a hit off the top of the wall, and a 2-minute, 8-second review initiated by the umps upheld the call. They wanted to make sure the ball hadn’t cleared the wall.
Allen Craig and Yadier Molina followed with RBI singles as St. Louis pulled ahead 7-3.