Michael Wacha outdueled Reds ace Johnny Cueto, and Matt Adams' home run, his first hit of the season, provided the go-ahead run Saturday as St. Louis outscored Cincinnati, 4-1, at Great American Ball Park to hand the Reds their first loss of the season.
Wacha surrendered Todd Frazier's first-inning homer, then shut down the Reds for the rest of his 6 1/3 innings. He worked his way out of trouble on occasion, stranding three Reds at third base and another at second.
"I was able to pitch out of trouble with guys in scoring position," Wacha said. "That's when you need to bear down. I also had great defense behind me."
Adams, who had started the season 0-for-9 with four strikeouts, got ahold of Cueto's 0-1 changeup and dropped a solo home run onto the netting over the Cardinals' bullpen in right field. That gave St. Louis a 2-1 fourth-inning lead that stood up the rest of the way. Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina added RBI singles in the ninth.
"I was looking heater, but then I saw [Cueto] left a changeup up," Adams said. "During the first [series] in Chicago, I felt like I was jumping at the ball a bit. I need to be more consistent."
Cueto was nearly as good, being charged with two runs over seven innings.
The Reds had won their first four games of the season, all in their final at-bat, but Trevor Rosenthal retired all five batters he faced to earn the save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stranded: With two outs in the eighth inning and the Reds down 2-1, Joey Votto stood at third base. Cincinnati's struggling cleanup hitter Devin Mesoraco was at the plate, and on a 1-2 pitch, he hit a routine ground ball to shortstop Peralta for the third out, stranding another runner in scoring position.More >
Six up, five down: St. Louis manager Mike Matheny used five relief pitchers against six Cincinnati batters after removing Wacha in the seventh inning. Votto's single off left-hander Randy Choate accounted for the only Reds baserunner in that span.
A little help, please: The Cardinals tied the score 1-1 with an unearned run in the second inning. Peralta reached on Frazier's error, Cueto hit Jon Jay with a pitch and Molina singled to right. That loaded the bases for Kolten Wong, who scored Peralta from third with a sacrifice fly to right.
Power play: Frazier continues to provide power from the third spot in the Reds' lineup. Against Wacha in the first inning, the right-handed hitting third baseman sent a 3-0 fastball over the left-field fence for his third round-tripper of the season to give Cincinnati a short-lived 1-0 lead. Despite being in the first inning, it was the second time Frazier gave the fans something to cheer about -- it was Todd Frazier Bobblehead Giveaway Day at the ballpark.
QUOTABLE "I imagine he [the fan] got clocked pretty good. I felt sorry for him." -- Wacha, on the delay after a fan was struck by a foul ball during the seventh inning
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS The Reds are 10-for-10 stealing bases this season, including Mesoraco's third career steal during the fourth inning.
INSTANT REPLAY Reds manager Bryan Price challenged a call in the eighth inning, but the call stood. St. Louis batter Randal Grichuk reached when the throw from Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart pulled first baseman Votto off the bag. The replay official confirmed the call after a 2-minute, 2-second review. Grichuk got no further, as Jason Heyward later hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals:Carlos Martinez makes his first start of the season to close the series Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. The Cardinals have high hopes for the 23-year-old right-hander, who struck out 21 in 22 Spring Training innings.
Reds:Raisel Iglesias will make his Major League debut as the Reds' Sunday starter. The right-hander from Cuba signed a seven-year contract in June and was 0-3 in six games during Spring Training. Cincinnati will look to win its first three-game series against St. Louis since July 2012.