By HAL McCOY
Anthony DeSclafani has hit a snag in his baseball haberdashery. The stoic Cincinnati Reds right hander sought his seventh victory for the third time Wednesday night and was denied by the St. Louis Cardinals and Jaime Garcia, 3-1.
DeSclafani was 6-and-0 at the start of each of his last three starts and the Reds have lost all three, but Wednesday night was DeSclafani’s first defeat.
Garcia held the Reds to one run and four hits over eight innings and was a Ground Ball Machine, inducing 15 ground ball outs. But when he gave up a double to Joey Votto and single to Adam Duvall to start the ninth to put runners on third and first with no outs, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny brought in Korean closer Seung Hwan Oh.
ON OH’S FIRST PITCH, Eugenio Suarez hit one hard to third, but the Cardinals turned it into a 5-4-3 double play as Votto scored.
Oh then struck out Tony Renda on four pitches to end it. Renda was playing second base for injured Brandon Phillips and Tyler Holt played right field for injured Scott Schebler, leaving Reds manager Bryan Price with only two bench players.
DeSclafani gave up three runs on six hits in five innings and two of the runs came on solo home runs. The first came on his first pitch of the game, a drive to the right field seats by Matt Carpenter.
THE CARDINALS MADE IT 2-0 in the third on a triple by Carpenter and a double by Brandon Moss, his 15th RBI in 12 games against the Reds this season, seven won by the Cardinals.
The Reds cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fourth when Suarez lined his 18th home run over the right field fence.
St. Louis third baseman Jhonny Peralta retrieved that run in the bottom of the fourth with a long home run to left field for a 3-1 lead.
TUCKER BARNHART LED THE eighth with a double, extending his hitting streak to eight games. Pinch-hitter Ivan DeJesus Jr. grounded out to third and then the Cardinals slapped some heavy leatherwork on the Reds.
Billy Hamilton pulled one hard over the third base bag. Peralta, a shortstop playing third base this night, backhanded the ball and spun in a complete circle before throwing out Hamilton.
Zack Cozart shot one into the deep shortstop hole. Greg Garcia, playing shortstop while Peralta was at third, backhanded the ball and made the long throw. Matt Carpenter, playing first base for only the second time this season, did an excavation job in the dirt to complete the out and the inning.
GARCIA, BIDDING FOR HIS second complete game this season, had only 78 pitches entering the ninth (It took DeSclafani 98 to get through five), gave up a first-pitch double to left to Votto and when Duvall singled, Garcia’s night was done and Oh finished it oh-so-well.
Garcia is now 11-and-4 for his career against the Reds, but when he faced them on the last homestand the Reds ripped him for 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings. On the other side, DeSclafani was 3-and-0 against the Cardinals last season.
The Reds won their first six series after the All-Star game, all by two games to one, but now have lost two straight series (Pittsburgh, St. Louis) by two games to one.