By HAL McCOY
With absolutely no apologies to Cher, ‘And the beat goes on,’ and unfortunately for them, it is the Cincinnati Reds who keep getting beat on every day.
After six innings Sunday afternoon in Busch Stadium III, the Reds trailed the St. Louis Cardinals by one run.
But when the 44,430 fans headed for the parking lots the Cardinals had unloaded on Reds relief pitcher Kevin Quackenbush for a 9-2 win.
Quackenbush struck out Matt Carpenter to begin the seventh. Then Reds’ assassin Yadier Molina doubled, one of his three hits on this day.
Jose Martinez lined to center field for the second out and Quackenbush slipped two quick strikes past Dexter Fowler, hitting .181. Quackenbush was one strike from keeping it at 3-2. But he threw four straight balls to walk Fowler, one of four walks Fowler coaxed from Reds pitchers.
Quackenbush went to 1-and-2 on Paul DeJong, once again one pitch from keeping the score at 3-2. On the 1-and-2 count, catcher Devin Mesoraco went to the mound for a long discussion with Quackenbush.
Whatever was said didn’t register and didn’t work. DeJong whacked the next pitch into the left field seats, a three-run home run, the game’s death stroke. DeJong has seven home runs and 12 of his 13 RBI have come on home runs.
Quackenbush returned for the eighth and it was more of the same. He walked Kolten Wong to open the inning and Harrison Bader singled. Pinch-hitter Greg Garcia doubled for two runs and Molina’s sacrifice fly scored the ninth run for the Cardinals.
It was another rough-around-the-edges start for pitcher Luis Castillo. He gave up three runs, seven hits and four walks in five innings. It could have been worse. The Cardinals stranded seven runners during Castillo’s five innings.
After Castillo escaped a bases-loaded and one out dilemma in the first by getting a double play grounder out of DeJong, Kolten Wong started the damage with a one-out home run in the second. In seven games this year against the Reds the Cardinals have hammered 14 home runs.
Castillo walked Carpenter to open the third and it led to a pair of runs. Molina singled to put runners on second and first. Molina took third on a fly to center and scored on Fowler’s infield dribbler when Castillo bobbled the ball when he could have thrown Molina out at home. A sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
The Reds scored two off Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas in the sixth, an inning that began with a throwing error by third baseman Carpenter. Jesse Winker doubled and Jose Peraza scored from first. Joey Votto lined one off pitcher Mikolas’s forearm and the ball ricocheted into left field, enabling Winker to score and cut the St. Louis lead to 3-2.
Votto, who walked four times in Saturdays 4-3 loss, saw six pitches the entire game Sunday, making outs his first two times at the plate on the first pitch.
The Reds had only five hits and the last 12 Reds made outs after Votto’s sixth-inning single.
So the record falls to 3-and-18 and they’ve lost 13 of their last 14. After going 1-and-5 on the trip, the Reds return home for a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves, beginning Monday night.
Fortunately for the Reds, they don’t see the Cardinals against until June because they’ve lost their last 11 games to St. Louis.