Clubbing Cincinnati Reds Pound St. Louis Cardinals


After what was a miserable offensive performance during the series opener on Monday night, the Cincinnati Reds evened up their series with the St. Louis Cardinals as they came out swinging on Tuesday. When the dust had settled three and a half hours later, the Redlegs were 9-5 victors.

In the hours prior to first pitch, many were critical of manager Bryan Price’s decision to stick with virtually the same lineup that had been dominated by Cardinals starter Shelby Miller nearly 24 hours before. Once again, Price proved why he is where he is, and why we all are where we are.

The Bats:


The conversation can start and end with Devin Mesoraco. Clearly the club’s most dangerous offensive weapon, the best all-around catcher the Reds have had since Johnny Bench had another one of his nights where he reminded the modern-age fan that catchers can slug a bit too.

Mesoraco was yet to face Wacha in his career when he strode in for the first time in the bottom of the first. Eventually working the count full, Mesoraco would seemingly get under a curveball from the right-hander, his new pitch of choice. The ball would send left fielder Matt Holliday back until he eventually reached the warning track, and then the wall, and then watched it soar into the seats for a two-run home run.

His third appearance would be the end of the line for Wacha, who was on a strict pitch count. Mesoraco would rip a RBI double down the left field line, plating Brayan Pena and setting the Reds up for a four-run inning that they would use to catapult them to victory.

At the end of the night, Devin would finish 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, a RBI double, two walks, and three runs scored.

On paper, Brandon Phillips would finish the night 1-for-4 before being removed via the double switch in the seventh inning, but his box score would not do his evening justice. In his first plate appearance, he would hit a sinking line drive out to right field, just to have it caught by phenom Oscar Taveras. His next time up was a lined smash right back at pitcher Michael Wacha, in which the ball literally landed in Wacha’s glove.

In the fifth inning, he would drive the ball to right centerfield for a two-RBI double off former closer Jason Motte. Still battling the severely injured hand, any kind of hard hit ball that the defensive wizard produces is a sign of better things to come.

Known for his defense, Gold Glove candidate Zack Cozart chipped in with the bat on Tuesday night. Slashing a gap-splitting triple in the fourth inning, he would also drive in a run in the fifth inning on a lined smash to the opposite field. Finishing the night with two base hits and multiple gems in the field, it was one of the rare nights during the 2014 season in which the newest father on the Reds roster heard cheers opposed to jeers.

The Arms:

The one-man wrecking crew of Mike Leake took over on Tuesday night. Driving in a run in the fourth inning with his bat, Leake would get back the only run he would allow through the front six innings.

His career against St. Louis has been a rocky one, but he stuck to his 2014 ways of pitching well and not allowing the powerful Cardinals lineup to overtake him. Home plate umpire Paul Nauert allowed Leake access to both outside corners of the plate for him to use his devastating cutter, which allowed him to rack up six strikeouts, three of which were of the looking variety.

With one of the best defensive infields in all of baseball behind him, Leake stuck to his usual method of letting the opposition beat the ball into the ground and let the wizardry of Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, and Brandon Phillips shine.

Sent back out for the seventh inning with a 7-1 lead, Leake allowed a double and a single to start the frame, before being pulled by Jumbo Diaz. Both runs would unfortunately come around to score, still allowing him to finish with a quality start.

The seventh inning was a rough go of it for Jumbo, who recorded three outs (two of which were stung) to the tune of three base hits and a bases loaded walk. Diaz would certainly bend, yet thanks to some help from Brayan Pena down at first to close out the inning, did not break.

Called on to finish up the game in the ninth inning was J.J. Hoover as the Reds tacked on two late runs in the bottom of the eighth to go ahead 9-4. The combination of a throwing error from Zack Cozart and Xavier Scruggs’s first Major League hit led to Hoover eventually having to exit in favor of Aroldis Chapman.

With a four-run lead and just an out remaining, the Cuban Missile was summoned to finish off the Redbirds, and after an 11-pitch at-bat to Mark Ellis, the Redlegs were victorious.

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Back at it again on Wednesday evening, the Cardinals will send John Lackey to the hill against Alfredo Simon for a 7:10 p.m. start. Lackey will be getting his second look at Cincinnati this season, while Simon has become maybe just a bit too accustomed to seeing the Cardinals.