Pitcher Mike Leake reversed multiple trends and gave the Cincinnati Reds a win they sorely needed, to avoids sweep in hands of the Cardinals.
Pounded throughout his career by St. Louis, Leake worked eight shutout innings Wednesday, facing only two batters over the minimum, in a 4-0 win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Leake, who entered the game with a career earned run average of 5.96 against the Cardinals, allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out three. He threw just 100 pitches and recorded 17 groundball outs, inducing three double plays.
Reliever Manny Parra finished up the shutout with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Reds (3-6) finished their road trip at 2-4, getting 10 hits off starter Shelby Miller and three relievers. Catcher Devin Mesoraco broke the tie with his first homer, a left centerfield shot in the top of the fourth with left fielder Chris Heisey aboard after a two-out single.
Rookie center fielder Billy Hamilton stole the other runs in a display of his blinding speed. After a one-out single in the fifth, Hamilton got a huge jump and stole second without a throw from catcher Yadier Molina, moved to third on a shallow fly ball to right and scored on a sacrifice fly to shallow right by right fielder Jay Bruce.
In the ninth, Hamilton laid down a one-out bunt single against reliever, beat Molina’s bullet throw for second for another steal and cruised home on an RBI single to right by second baseman Brandon Phillips.
Hamilton finished the day 3-for-4 with two runs and two steals. He led off the game with a triple to left-center, but was stranded at third as Miller got a pair of strikeouts and a grounder.
Miller worked six innings for St. Louis, yielding seven hits and three runs while walking three and striking out five.
The Cardinals saw just one man reach scoring position. First baseman Matt Adams doubled with two outs in the seventh, but Leake whiffed Molina on a full-count pitch.
The Reds will enjoy a day off tomorrow, and will be back at Friday at Great American BallPark, a start of a six game homestand, with the Tampa Bay Rays coming in first. Friday’s pitching matchup is going to be an elite one, Johnny Cueto for the Reds and David Price for the Rays.