Votto, Hamilton lead Reds to win over Cardinals
CINCINNATI -- Todd Frazier's eighth-inning sacrifice fly scored Billy Hamilton and gave the Reds a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals on Friday night at Great American Ball Park in a game that featured a pair of two-run homers by Joey Votto.
Cincinnati is off to a 4-0 start, with its last three victories by one-run margins. Since winning their first game to open 2015, the Cardinals have dropped their last two.
With the game tied at 4 in the bottom of the eighth and Jordan Walden pitching for St. Louis, Hamilton drew a one-out walk. He promptly went 7-for-7 in steals this season by going to second base with Votto batting. More >
After Votto was intentionally walked, Hamilton advanced to third base on a Walden wild pitch. As Frazier flied out to right field, Hamilton tagged up and scored with a headfirst slide at the plate ahead of Jason Heyward's throw.
"I was going to go no matter what, no matter where it was hit at," Hamilton said. "That's what we have scouting reports about, these guys' arms. I knew if I got into the situation, Jason had the best arm on the team. I knew I had to go. It got the job done, that's the main thing."
Reds reliever J.J. Hoover pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings with one hit and three strikeouts for the win.
Despite a one-out single in the ninth, Aroldis Chapman recorded his second save with two strikeouts, including a called strike three on Matt Holliday to end the game.
Chapman also benefited from an outstanding defensive stop on Heyward's grounder up the middle by second baseman Brandon Phillips for a force play that got Carpenter for the second out.
"Phillips made an outstanding play. That's what keeps games like this one tight," Heyward said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bad Bounce: Yadier Molina, one of the top defensive catchers in baseball, couldn't come up with the pitch Walden bounced to Frazier in time to stop Billy Hamilton from scampering to third base. Hamilton later scored the game-winning run on Frazier's sacrifice fly. More >
Votto goes deep, twice: Votto continued his hitting tear to open the season, as he extended his hitting streak to four games with a pair of two-run home runs in his first two at-bats. Against John Lackey in the first, Votto hit a 1-1 pitch for a two-run homer to left field and he belted a 2-0 pitch to left field in the third inning that gave Cincinnati a 4-3 lead. More >
Start Me Up: St. Louis center fielder Randal Grichuk's first plate appearance of the season came in the second inning. Grichuk crushed a 431-foot, two-run home run to left field to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. He led St. Louis with four home runs during spring training.
Marquis turns it around: Reds starter Jason Marquis started out shaky in his debut, with 11 of his first 15 pitches being balls, including two walks, a wild pitch in the first inning and Grichuk's homer in the second.
After that, Marquis retired 12 in a row and turned in a quality start with three runs and five hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out seven while throwing 104 pitches, including 61 for strikes.
"It was a little extra special getting out on the mound after not being out there for about 20 months," Marquis said. "I was just excited to get the ball. I wanted to get the ball to home plate a little too quick. But I felt good all spring with where I was at. It got away from me for about two innings but I was able to make the adjustment sooner than later."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Chapman's save on Friday was the 115th of his career, which passed Danys Baez for most all-time saves by a pitcher born in Cuba.
Cardinals: Michael Wacha hopes to dominate the Reds in Saturday's 1:10 p.m. ET game in the same way he dominated Grapefruit League hitters (1-0, 1.77 ERA) this spring. The St. Louis right-hander was MVP of the 2013 National League Championship Series before battling shoulder issues in 2014. .
Reds: Following a strong Opening Day performance on Monday, ace Johnny Cueto will get the ball again and face St. Louis. Cueto struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings vs. Pittsburgh the last time out.
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