ST. LOUIS -- The Reds' offense came alive against the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, a bullpen that had been rock solid of late couldn't make it stand.Yadier Molina's solo homer off of Jared Hughes (0-2) in the bottom of the seventh broke a tie and lifted the Cardinals to
ST. LOUIS -- The Reds' offense came alive against the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, a bullpen that had been rock solid of late couldn't make it stand.
Yadier Molina's solo homer off of Jared Hughes (0-2) in the bottom of the seventh broke a tie and lifted the Cardinals to a 4-3 win at Busch Stadium. The Reds lost for the sixth straight time to the Cardinals and 10th straight dating back to last season. Cincinnati has lost 12 out of its last 13.
Molina's homer, which gave him 800 career RBIs, snapped a 19-inning shutout streak by Reds relievers.
"Jared's done a great job for us, and he just left one up there and Yadi didn't miss it," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We knew he really hit it good. Our only hope was that the wind would knock it down a little bit, but it got out of there."
The Reds scored three times with two outs in the top of the seventh to tie the game. Jose Peraza's RBI single started the scoring, and Scooter Gennett's two-run single gave Cincinnati its first multi-run frame in 36 innings.
"We're seeing a little progress," Riggleman said. "We're getting closer. Certainly it's not what we're looking to do, is get close, but there was some encouragement."
Even in the loss, the Reds lineup showed signs of life. Jesse Winker singled twice and reached four times. Peraza reached three times. Gennett had a pair of singles and Joey Votto walked four times.
"We're just trying to be optimistic on that end that things are going to turn around and those inches here and there will be in our favor at some point," Gennett said. "We've got to keep that thought rather than, 'Man, you know we just can't catch a break.'"
Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks (1-0) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first Major League decision. The Reds loaded the bases against Hicks with one out in the ninth, but the rookie got Gennett to bounce into a double play to end the game.
"It's tough," Gennett said. "An outer third fastball that I normally don't get on top of, but for some reason I did and it's just the game."
Reds starter Homer Bailey fell an out shy of a quality start, giving up three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He made two mistakes, giving up a two-run homer to Paul DeJong in the second and a solo homer to William Fowler to lead off the sixth.
Bailey wasn't pleased with his outing.
"I did some things I wasn't happy with and didn't have a slider much today," Bailey said. "We were able to rely with my fourth pitch, my curveball. Tried to hold them the best we could, our defense did a good job and we saw our offense coming through there at the end. It was just one of those days where you had to fight back and forth."
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez shut out the Reds over six innings. Martinez has thrown 13 shutout innings in two starts this season against the Reds, and has not allowed a run in his last 18 innings.
"He's always tough," Riggleman said. "We've seen him last week and I thought last week he threw a little bit more off-speed stuff, and today it felt like he turned it up with his fastball a little more often. He's a pitcher. He's a power guy, but he's dazzling you with a good repertoire of soft stuff too."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Peraza appeared to hit into an inning-ending double play in the top of the fifth, but Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong was slow on the turn, allowing Peraza to reach first safely and giving the Reds runners on the corners with Votto batting. Votto stung one to left-center field but Harrison Bader caught the line drive on the warning track to end the rally.
The Reds fell to 3-17, matching the worst 20-game start to a season in franchise history (they were also 3-17 in 1931 and finished with a 58-96 record).
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Wong made up for his inability to turn a double play in the fifth, with a sensational over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field on a soft liner by Adam Duvall in the sixth. Wong was able to complete the 4-3 double play after Gennett, who led off the inning with a single, broke for second to end a possible Reds rally.
"I thought it was down off the bat," Gennett said. "At the same time, it's tough because, if you go halfway, if he does make the catch it might be tough to get back -- or the opposite, if it does fall it might be tough to get to second. In theory, the only thing really I could have done was stay at first, and if it falls let him get me at second and only make one out, but no one is really going to do those things."
HE SAID IT
"Somebody who would press is somebody who would be worried about getting sent to Triple-A, but the rest of the guys, they know that the world is not going to end if they don't get a hit today or drive in that tying run or whatever." -- Riggleman, on if the Reds are pressing
Righty Luis Castillo (1-2, 6.75 ERA) will make his second career appearance against the Cardinals, who counter with Miles Mikolas (2-0, 4.26 ERA) in the finale of a three-game series Sunday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Castillo took a two-hitter into the bottom of the seventh before allowing four runs in the Reds' 10-4 win over Milwaukee in his last start on Monday.
Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.