McCoy: Cardinals Shut Out Reds. . .Again, This Time, 2-0

By Hal McCoy

Somewhere there is a signed document that reads: “The Cincinnati Reds shall not win two games in a row nor win a series.”

They had the opportunity Sunday afternoon to shred that document, but failed miserably, a 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium.

They entered the game with losses in four straight series and had not won back-to-back games since beating Cleveland on June 12 and beating Milwaukee on June 13.

And they hadn’t won a series since taking two-of-three from the Chicago Cubs June 7-9.

The Reds entered Sunday’s game with victories in two of the first three games of this series, including a 9-4 win Saturday.

If they won Sunday it would be two wins in a row and a three games to one series victory.

If. . .

They were completely shut down by a baseball-type octogenarian, 39-year right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn. He stifled them on two hits over six innings.

Lynn featured mostly high fastballs and nearly every Reds hitter had two strikes on them in about 30 seconds in the batter’s box.

And once again, Hunter Greene has a winnable case of non-support from his teammates. He held the Cardinals to four hits and one run while he was on the mound, but one run was all the Cardinals needed in this one.

Despite generally pitching adroitly, losing to the Cardinals is as traditional as broad stripes and bright stars for Greene. He is 1-4 against the Cardinals and the Reds are 2-6 in games he started against St. Louis.

And he was 3-0 for his last seven starts on the road, but the Cardinals know how to throw up a road block in front of him.

The Cardinals used slump-ridden players to win this one.

It was 0-0 when the bottom of the fifth began. Back-up catcher Pedro Pages, hitting .156, opened the inning with a single to left. It would be one his three hits on this day.

With one out, Masyn Winn, enmeshed in a 0 for 13 skid, singled to right field, sending Pages to second. That brought up Alec Burleson, lugging a 0 for 16 bat to the plate. He singled to right, scoring Pages.

Nolan Arenado began the sixth with a single off the glove of leaping third baseman Noelvi Marte. With one out, Pages singled again.

Fernando Cruz replaced Greene and this time Winn doubled to shallow right center, scoring Arenado for the 2-0 score.

A hint that it might be a frustrating day was when the game opened with Lynn striking out poker-hot Jonathan India on three pitches.

India did get one of his team’s two hits, a two-out double in the third. That pushed his hitting streak to 11 straight and it was the eighth straight game in which he hit a double.

But his string of eight straight multi-hit games came to an end when he grounded out his final two at bats.

Cincinnati’s only other hit with a one-out single by Stuart Fairchild in the fifth. And he took second on a delayed steal. But Will Benson lined to left and Luke Maile struck out.

Lynn left after six innings and 79 pitches, 57 strikes. The shutout was completed by Andrew Kittredge, Jo Jo Romero and Ryan Helsley. Against those bullpenners, the Reds put one runner on base in the final three innings, a leadoff walk to Spencer Steer toopen the seventh.

But Jake Fraley forced him at second, Noelvi Marte popped out and pinch-hitter Santiago Espinal flied to right.

Since getting three hits in his first game back after his 80-game suspension, Marte 0 for 13 with four strikeouts and has displayed defensive deficiencies.

When the ninth inning arrived, the Reds’ chances were the same as the sun rising in the west. They faced St. Louis closer Ryan Helsley, owner of 29 straight saves.

Utilizing a 101 miles an hour fastball and n 81miles an hour curveball, Helsley struck out Elly De La Cruz on three pitches. He struck out Jeimer Candelario on four pitches and Spencer Steer lined to third base on the third pitch.

Helsley blew his first save opportunity of the year against the Los Angeles, then has saved 30 straight in 30 opportunities, a club record.

The Reds scored 11 runs in the series opener, then were shut out, 1-0, in the second game. They scored nine runs in the third game, then were shut out in the fourth game.

They outscored the Cardinals in the series, 20-11, but just gained a split.

Early this season, the Cardinals were in last place but by winning 12 of their last 18 they have climbed into second place in the National League Central.

The Reds have lost 10 of 15 and are in fourth place, 11 games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

After taking Monday off, the Reds embark on a challenging three-game series Tuesday against Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium.

One thought on “McCoy: Cardinals Shut Out Reds. . .Again, This Time, 2-0”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *