Wacha continued that dominance of the Reds with 6 2/3 strong innings to help St. Louis to a 4-2 win on Friday night at Busch Stadium. The victory marked the Cardinals' ninth consecutive win over their division foe (first five games of 2018, last four games in 2017).
Wacha improved to 10-1 lifetime in 16 starts against Cincinnati..
"He continues to have success against teams that have seen him because he gives them a different look than they've had before," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's as important as anything else."
Yadier Molina had a two-run double in the first inning to highlight a three-run outburst for the Cardinals, who have won six of seven.
Wacha gave up six hits and one run, with three strikeouts, in his longest outing of the season. He retired 11 in a row before giving up back-to-back hits with two outs in the seventh.
Left-hander Tyler Lyons then came on and got pinch-hitter Devin Mesoraco to ground out to end the threat.
Four of the Cardinals' first five batters reached safely in the first. Tommy Pham and Martinez singled before Marcell Ozuna walked to load the bases. Molina then lashed a double to the right-center field gap, and Jedd Gyorko followed with a sacrifice fly.
Martinez, like Wacha, seems to feast on the Reds. He is 11-for-21 with five doubles, a homer and eight RBIs against them this season. The infielder has hit safely in his last 11 games against Cincinnati.
He said he came out with an aggressive mindset right from the start.
"The plan was to go out there and score first," Martinez said. "I feel like we set the tone."
Bud Norris pitched the ninth, notching his fifth save in as many chances.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Norris induced Tucker Barnhart to ground into a double play with two on and nobody out in the ninth. He then gave up a run-scoring hit to Alex Blandino, but got Cliff Pennington to line out to shortstop to end the game.
SOUND SMART Molina took over the all-time lead in RBIs at Busch Stadium III with his two-run double in the first inning. Molina has driven in 357 runs at the stadium, which opened in 2006, passing Albert Pujols, who has 356.
HE SAID IT "For me, I think it's boring to hit when nobody's on base," Martinez said.
REPLAY REVIEWS After driving in Pham with an RBI double to push the lead to 4-0 in the second inning, Martinez dove into the bag hand-first on a pickoff attempt and was ruled safe by second-base umpire David Rackley. Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman challenged the call, which was upheld after a one-minute, 45-second review.
In the fifth inning, Harrison Bader was originally ruled out at first base on a grounder back to the mound that started a double play. The call by first-base umpire Chris Guccione was changed after a 30-second review.
UP NEXT Right-hander Carlos Martinez (2-1, 1.75) will make his fifth start of the season on Saturday against Homer Bailey and the Reds at 1:15 p.m. CT.. He threw seven scoreless innings in a 3-2 win over Cincinnati in his last start. Martinez is 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA lifetime against Cincy. The seven wins are the most against any team in the Majors. Homer Bailey gets the start for the Reds.
Steve Overbey is a contributor for MLB.com based in St. Louis.