Anthony DeSclafani helped the Cardinals continue their offensive woes at home as he threw seven shutout innings to knock off St. Louis 1-0 on Wednesday.
DeSclafani’s performance was preceded by Mike Leake’s eight innings of shutout baseball on Tuesday. The Reds (45-54) pitching staff did not allow a run in the final 22 innings of work against the Cardinals and Raisel Iglesias allowed all four runs on one swing of the bat to hold St. Louis (64-37) without a run in 25 of the 26 innings the Cardinals came to bat. DeSclafani scattered three hits and three walks in seven innings of work.
He got all the run support he needed from Jay Bruce in the second inning when he launched his 17th home run of the season off John Lackey (9-6). Lackey had Bruce in an 0-2 hole, but the Reds right fielder sent Lackey’s 2-2 offering just over the reach of center fielder Randal Grichuk to move him into ninth place on the franchise home run list passing Barry Larkin.
The Cardinals offensive woes weren’t helped by the departure of Matt Holliday from the game after the first inning when he aggravated a right quad injury that cost him 31 games already this season. Stephen Piscotty moved from first to left field while Mark Reynolds took his place in the lineup and played first.
In the wake of his injury, the Cardinals traded for Brandon Moss in exchange for a minor league left handed pitcher. Moss, a 2014 All-Star with Oakland, was hitting .217 with 15 homers and 50 RBI. He returns to the NL Central where he spent 195 games with the Pirates from 2008-2010.
St. Louis did have a shot to tie the game in the eighth inning when J.J. Hoover came on in relief of DeSclafani. Hoover, coming off of back-to-back blown saves in which he allowed four runs in two innings, allowed a two out double to Matt Carpenter, but was able to get Reynolds to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the threat. Aroldis Chapman met little resistance in the ninth inning as he retired the side in order, including All-Stars Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina for his 21st save of the season.
The Reds were able to help the Pittsburgh Pirates (59-41) come to within 4.5 games of St. Louis, but Cincinnati will look to prevent the Pirates from getting any closer as they head to the Queen City for a four game series starting Thursday. Pittsburgh is leaving Minnesota where they swept the brief two game set and scored 18 runs on 24 hits. The Pirates have won five of six after opening the second half 1-5.
Cincinnati will try to keep the Pirates in line as they are 7-2 this season against the Buccos and have won nine of the last 12 meetings at Great American Ballpark since the beginning of last season. That includes a three game sweep this year to start the season.
David Holmberg, who takes the spot left vacated by the Johnny Cueto trade, will make his season debut after appearing in seven games for the Reds last season while posting a 2-2 record with a 4.80 ERA. He’ll be opposed by All-Star A.J. Burnett (8-4, 2.68 ERA) with first pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.