Cards, Lynn ride Wong's slam to win vs. Reds
ST. LOUIS -- With the Cardinals' third grand slam of the season, second baseman Kolten Wong powered his club to a 4-1 win on Monday to open a three-game series against the Reds at Busch Stadium.
A Jay Bruce sacrifice fly gave the Reds an early 1-0 lead against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, who entered the night averaging just 2.72 runs of support per game. Wong gave him more than that with one swing, helping the Cards capitalize in an inning they opened with consecutive hits off Reds starter Raisel Iglesias.
"It was great," Wong said. "It's one of those that when you hit it, you know you've hit it with everything you've got, so if it doesn't go out, it's a tough time. That's everything I had."
Iglesias did not allow another run over his six-inning start. It marked the second time in Iglesias' seven career starts that he finished at least six innings. Lynn went seven deep en route to his eighth win, and extended the Cardinals' winning streak against Cincinnati to six games.
"What happened after I gave up the leadoff double to [Yadier Molina], I tried to be perfect," Iglesias said through translator Tomas Vera. "I tried to not commit any mistakes when having the guy on second. It took me to what happened -- load the bases and consequently give up the home run at the end."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wong gone: Iglesias nearly worked out of a fourth-inning mess before serving up Wong's second career grand slam. He struck out Lynn with the bases loaded before Wong, who had struck out in his previous at-bat, worked the count full with two outs. He drove the next pitch -- a 92-mph fastball -- 399 feet to give Lynn a three-run lead.
"He gets in that big spot, and he has a lot of faith in himself that he's going to get it done," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That typically comes with a guy who has been around a little bit longer than Kolten. But he's done it enough already to validate his confidence there." More >
Opportunity knocked, no answer: Cincinnati had Lynn in trouble during the top of the third inning when it loaded the bases with no outs on a base hit, a hit-by-pitch and walk. Bruce got one run in with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Brandon Phillips, but Brayan Pena grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
"It was the tale of two moments," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Their moment was two-outs grand slam. Our moment was bases loaded no outs, a sacrifice fly, double play."
On alert: Both clubs were issued warnings by home-plate umpire Marty Foster after Iglesias hit Peter Bourjos in the back with a sixth-inning pitch. It was the second time Bourjos had been hit by Iglesias, who had earlier opened his start by plunking Wong. Lynn also hit two batters -- Joey Votto and Bruce -- before the warning.
Bend but don't break: Lynn kept the Reds hitless in eight chances with a runner in scoring position and closed his outing by getting All-Star Todd Frazier to pop out with two aboard. Lynn had only one clean inning but still managed to lower his home season ERA to 1.77.
"My fastball was command was terrible tonight, all night really," Lynn said. "When you don't have your good stuff and can come out of it only giving up one run, you'll take it. There are going to be nights where you have good stuff and you give up runs. But tonight I was able to make pitches with runners on and it worked out."
"That's going to be one of big grow parts for Raisel this year: Having to pitch through those tough innings and then go another time through the lineup. It wasn't the result we wanted. But he did come back and give two scoreless innings. For him, it's a step in the right direction. Still, it's another loss." -- Price
Molina was replaced by pinch-hitter Tony Cruz in the fifth inning after feeling some effects from being hit in the mask by a first-inning Frazier foul tip. Molina said his stomach began to feel queasy, but he did pass a concussion test to rule out further concern. Matheny said dehydration may also have been a factor on the hot and humid night.
"I almost threw up, but right now I feel better," Molina said. "In the past, the [concussion] symptoms start with the stomach, [so] we take precaution and go straight to a doctor, because we want to be cautious about it." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Wong's grand slam was the first by a Cardinals leadoff hitter since 2010, when Felipe Lopez connected for one in a game against the Mets.
Reds: Under the specter of it possibly being his final start of a nearly six-year career with the Reds, Mike Leake will get the ball Tuesday as the series continues at 8:15 p.m. ET. Leake, a free agent at season's end, is a strong candidate to be dealt ahead of Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. He pitched a fantastic eight innings of one-run ball for a 9-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday in Cincinnati.
Cardinals: Jaime Garcia, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain, will make his first start since June 24 when the Cardinals face the Reds on Tuesday. Though Garcia has made just seven starts this season, he's been terrific when healthy. He'll enter the game with a 1.69 ERA.
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