Saturday, April 16, 2016

Holliday leads Cards' 6-HR surge vs. Reds

 In a game that featured a ballpark record-tying seven home runs -- including three three-run shots -- it was the Cardinals who easily outslugged the Reds for a 14-3 series-opening victory Friday night at Busch Stadium.
In his second big league start for Cincinnati, Tim Melville struggled from the very beginning and gave up seven runs (six earned) with six hits, three walks and two strikeouts over three innings. Melville's first nine pitches of the game were called balls before his 11th pitch -- on a 1-1 count -- went for a three-run homer by Matt HollidayAledmys Diaz added his own three-run homer in the bottom of the third to make it a 7-3 game.
"Obviously he was having a hard time finding the strike zone," Holliday said. "You take until you get a strike, and then you get aggressive with him.
Overall, the Cardinals hit six homers in the game. It's the most homers they have hit at the current Busch Stadium since it opened in 2006. It was also the most homers the Reds' pitching staff has allowed since giving up six to the Pirates on April 14, 2014. On April 16, 2006, the Reds and Cardinals combined to hit seven homers to establish the single-game record at the ballpark.
"[It's about] just getting ahead, staying in the zone early and aggressive. I wasn't executing pitches," said Melville, who attended high school in the St. Louis area and had family and friends in attendance "It's not going to be a good game when you don't do those things. Overall, I just didn't execute and do my part."
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez pitched seven innings and allowed three earned runs and six hits with one walk and six strikeouts for the victory. The Cardinals have won six of their last seven games since opening the season 0-3, while the Reds have dropped four in a row to bring their record to .500 at 5-5.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Off and running: Holliday made Melville pay for his early control issues, following a pair of walks with a home run to center. It was Holliday's first homer since July 21 and his first at Busch Stadium since Sept. 19, 2014, against the Reds. The Cardinals tacked on another run by capitalizing on an error by third baseman Eugenio Suarez, marking the third time in the last four games that they scored at least three runs in the first inning. More >
"Helps our pitching for sure," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Helps them settle in. I like the way [Matt Carpenter] leads it off with a walk, [Jeremy] Hazelbaker goes for a walk. Made them pay, obviously, with Holliday's big swing."
Votto connects: Joey Votto's first home run of the season briefly got the Reds back into the game in the top of the third inning. Following a pair of two-out singles against Martinez, Votto hit a 1-2 pitch to the opposite field for the three-run homer and cut the St. Louis lead to 4-3. His last long ball came on Sept. 23 of last season at Busch Stadium against Tyler Lyons.
Hamilton's leap and grab: Billy Hamilton did a masterful job of keeping one potential long ball from clearing the fence. Carpenter led off the St. Louis sixth with a drive to center field off of Dan Straily. Hamilton ran back and made a perfectly timed leap above the wall for the catch that robbed Carpenter of a homer. More >
Powering up: In 2015, the Cardinals hit 137 home runs, which placed them 25th in the Majors. The lack of power was a concern entering the season, but the Cardinals blasted six home runs off of Reds pitching and would have had a seventh if not for Hamilton's catch. The Cardinals entered the game with 11 homers in their first nine games, tied for seventh in the Majors with the Yankees, Blue Jays and D-backs. In addition to Holliday (two) and Diaz,Randal GrichukBrandon Moss and Matt Adams homered for St. Louis. More >
"Every ball that was hit made the right sound," Moss said. "I hate to be the guy that's always complaining, but if you hit a ball like that, like we hit tonight, they should go over the fence. It's good to see us get rewarded for those, because sometimes here you don't."
QUOTABLE
"It was kind of a bloodletting, for the lack of a better term. It just wasn't a competitive effort. We got behind early, a big three-run homer by Joey to be down 7-3, and then it was off to the races." -- Reds manager Bryan Price
REPLAY SYSTEM MALFUNCTION
Due to a pregame technical issue with the replay system at the ballpark, each club was without their normal manager's challenge. But they were allowed to have unlimited crew-chief reviews from New York for the entire game.
WHAT'S NEXT
Reds: Brandon Finnegan will get the start when the series continues Saturday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Finnegan carried a no-hitter for 6 2/3 innings against the Cubs on Monday before allowing one hit and getting a no-decision in a 5-3 loss.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright will look to earn his first win of the season in the 1:15 p.m. CT game. After losing the season opener, Wainwright couldn't hold on to a 4-1 lead against the Braves on Sunday, but he was bailed out by a late offensive barrage in a 12-7 win.

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