The St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds opened their regular season battle on opening day yesterday afternoon with a classic pitchers duel, with the Cards taking it 1-0 behind Yadier Molina’s game winning solo home run in the seventh inning.
The Reds offense, generated three hits yesterday and could be in for more struggles at the plate Wednesday night if Cards talented right hand pitcher Michael Wacha can repeat his outstanding rookie season a year ago.
The Reds were shut out in their opener for the first time in 61 years, the last time was in 1953.
Offense was not much better for St. Louis, which totaled five hits, but got the most important hit in the seventh by Molina. Reds starter Johnny Cueto had a great opening day outing, going seven innings, giving up that only run to Molina.
The Reds went 0 for 7 with runners on scoring position, which it has been the team weakness the last couple of seasons.
Todd Frazier provided two of Cincinnati’s three hits while Joey Votto went 0 for 4 and Jay Bruce went 0 for 3. Billy Hamilton, replacing Shin-Soo Choo as the leadoff hitter, struck out in all four of his at-bats.
The Reds put runners on the corners with no outs in the eighth, but they twice grounded into a fielder’s choice and Frazier struck out looking to end the inning.
“We weren’t able to get a hit there,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It was disappointing, but there will be more disappointments along the way.”
Wacha threw a combined 10 shutout innings in two outings against the Reds last year.
So, this game has all the meaning of a rough night for the offense, what else is new?
Cincinnati will start a pitcher coming off a strong rookie season with Tony Cingrani getting the nod. The left-hander won both of his starts against the Cardinals St. Louis last season.
He was outstanding in his final spring start last Thursday, giving up one run and five hits in seven innings.
The Cardinals last season struggled against lefties last season, hitting for a .238 batting average.
Opening night in Cincinnati tomorrow could be another pitchers duel, between two young talented pitchers.
TV: first pitch at 7:10pm on FSN Ohio.
Radio: 700 WLW