CINCINNATI -- Saturday proved to be unlucky No. 13 for the Reds.Jose Martinez continued his home run-hitting ways, Yadier Molina delivered another timely hit and the Reds lost a 13th consecutive game vs. the Cardinals, falling by a 6-4 score at Great American Ball Park.St. Louis managed only four hits
CINCINNATI -- Saturday proved to be unlucky No. 13 for the Reds.
Jose Martinez continued his home run-hitting ways, Yadier Molina delivered another timely hit and the Reds lost a 13th consecutive game vs. the Cardinals, falling by a 6-4 score at Great American Ball Park.
St. Louis managed only four hits off Reds starter Luis Castillo, but three went for extra bases, including a third-inning, bases-clearing double by Molina that proved to be the difference.
"It was a fastball away, and he put a good swing on it," Castillo said via translator Julio Morillo. "He hit it pretty well."
Castillo struck out 10 in his six innings of work, but yielded five earned runs. The young right-hander did finish strong, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati, Castillo's struggles reflect the Reds' recent habit of digging themselves into an early hole.
"We've got to somehow find a way to turn those three-run innings into one-run innings or fours to twos or something, because it's asking a lot of our club to fight back like that every night," said Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman. "The other side of that is you saw the last three innings Castillo threw were outstanding. It's exciting to know that this guy has a chance to be around for a long time. He's going to get better and better once he gets past these growing pains."
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha surrendered two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings to win his eighth straight decision. Wacha, who took a no-hitter into the ninth inning in his previous start, lowered his ERA to 2.47 on the season and improved to 11-1 in 17 career starts vs. the Reds.
After Castillo struck out Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham on six pitches to begin the game, Martinez and Marcell Ozuna followed with back-to-back home runs. Martinez's homer was his third in his past five plate appearances. Two innings later, Molina smacked a three-run double with two outs, upping the Cardinals' advantage to 5-0. That inning began with Wacha drawing a nine-pitch walk.
Cincinnati got on the board against Wacha in the fourth. After Scooter Gennett's leadoff single, Eugenio Suarez hit his 12th home run, a 448-foot smash to the second deck in left field, to cut the Reds' deficit to 5-2. Adam Duvall doubled with one out, but Wacha retired Jose Peraza and Castillo to halt the rally.
The two teams exchanged runs in the seventh. Carpenter hit a solo home run, while Scott Schebler doubled in Jose Peraza for the Reds. In the eighth, Jesse Winker clubbed a solo home run, then Curt Casali and Peraza followed with singles. However, Brandon Dixon sent a screaming liner to deep right field that Harrison Bader ran down, and Schebler was thrown out on a close play at first base to end the threat. Replay confirmed the call.
"Just [have to] keep battling, fighting and scrapping," Riggleman said. "It's going to pay off, because these starting pitchers are going to stop putting us in these three- and four-run deficits."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gomber gets Gennett: With the Reds trailing 6-3 in the seventh, Gennett came to the plate after Cardinals lefty Austin Gomber walked Joey Votto to put runners at first and second with two outs. But Gennett, the reigning National League Player of the Month whose bobblehead likeness was passed out to the first 20,000 fans on Saturday, could not deliver this time, flying out to center field on a 1-2 count to end the inning.
HE SAID IT
"That's how good these fans are. They are loyal to that team eight years ago. They're loyal to the Big Red Machine, the '90 club, the 2010 club. Molina probably loves it." -- Riggleman, on Reds fans continuing to boo Molina nearly eight years after his role in an infamous Cardinals-Reds brawl
Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani will make his second start of the season Sunday (1:10 p.m. ET first pitch) as Cincinnati wraps up its three-game series against the Cardinals. DeSclafani allowed four runs on six hits in five innings in his initial start of the season Tuesday -- which doubled as the right-hander's first MLB appearance since Sept. 28, 2016 -- against the Rockies. St. Louis counters with hard-throwing righty Carlos Martinez.
Grant Freking is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati.