By HAL McCOY
The view from his new perch as interim manager of the Cincinnati Reds was no different Friday night than it was when Jim Riggleman was bench coach — bad starting pitching, a silent offense and zero success against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Riggleman, managing his first game as fired manager Bryan Price’s replacement, watched helplessly as the team continued its losing ways, 4-2 to the Cardinals, Cincinnati’s 11th straight loss to St. Louis.
Continuing with the bad numbers, the Reds are 3-and-16 for the season with losses in 11 of their last 12 games.
It was practically pre-ordained, though, that the Reds would lose this one. They were facing Michael Wacha for the 12th time in Wacha’s career. He was the winning pitcher Friday and the Cardinals have won all 12 games he has started against the Reds and is personally 9-and-0 against the Reds.
Reds starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan threw in his second straight clinker-clunker, giving up three runs in the first and one in the second to fall behind, 4-0.
From there, the Reds had a few chances as the bullpen shut down the Cardinals after Finnegan left after the third inning.
The Cardinals stranded 11 runners and were 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
After going 21 straight innings without a run, the Reds scored one in the third and that scored on a bizarre double play.
They had runners on third and first with one out when Jose Peraza flied to left field. Billy Hamilton scored after the catch, but the throw home was cut off by third baseman Jedd Gyorko and his throw to second wiped out Jesse Winker trying to move from first to second, ending the inning.
The Reds wouldn’t score again until the ninth and even that was a bizarre affair.
They put the first two runners on base against closer Bud Norris, so the Reds had the potential tying run at the plate with no outs.
That rally was erased when Tucker Barnhart hit into a double play. Alex Blandino singled home a run but Cliff Pennington, batting .136 and 0 for 14, lined out to shortstop to end it.
Tommy Pham opened the St. Louis first inning with a single and Jose Martinez, who had three hits, singled to right field. He took second on Finnegan’s wild pitch and both runners scored when Yadier Molina bounced a ground rule double over the right field wall.
Molina took third on Marcell Ozuna’s ground ball and scored on a sacrifice fly to left field, making it 3-0.
St. Louis scored a run in the second on a walk to Pham and Martinez’s double.
In his three brief and eventful innings, Finnegan gave up four runs, five hits and walked four, using up 76 pitches to get that far.
After getting only three hits in each of the previous two games in Milwaukee, both 2-0 losses, the Reds collected nine hits, two each by Winker and Blandino.
The one noticeable improvement recently has been the bullpen and it was steady as she goes Friday. Dylan Floro pitched three scoreless innings (three hits), Kevin Quackenbush pitched a perfect inning and Raisel Iglesias walked two of the first three hitters he faced in the eighth but pitched out of it with no damage.
The series in Busch Stadium III continues Saturday afternoon with a rematch between Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey and the Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez. They matched up last weekend in Great American Ball Park and Bailey pitched extremely good, but lost.