The Reds and Cardinals came into this three-game weekend series trying to get their bats going and chasing the Pirates.
David Freese clubbed a double with the bases loaded in the first inning. All three of his mates scored on the blow that short-hopped the fence in front of the Reds' bullpen. Carlos Beltran doubled with one out. Allen Craig singled Beltran to third. Matt Holliday drew a walk in front of Freese's blow. Freese scored on Jon Jay's single that handcuffed Brandon Phillips.
Shin-Soo Choo came back from an ankle injury to lead off for the Reds. He singled and moved up when Joey Votto walked. Shelby Miller, the Cardinals' starter, struck out Phillips and Jay Bruce.
Miller breezed through the Reds' lineup like the wind off the Ohio River. Votto walked again in the fourth but was erased on a 3-6-3 double play that Bruce bounced into.
"Miller was effective with his fastball," Bruce said. "He also mixed up his times to the plate which I think matters."
Meanwhile, Beltran double again off Arroyo. Craig singled Beltran home. Arroyo pitched an uneventful third. Then the imaginary roof caved in. Daniel Descalso opened the fourth with a harmless single. Miller bunted foul with two strikes. Arroyo caught Matt Carpenter looking at strike three. Beltran singled, his third hit of the game with Descalso going to third. Arroyo departed.
"I had good stuff coming out of the bullpen," Arroyo said. "They have a great team. It is feast or famine with them. They weren't as aggressive as I thought they would be. In the first inning I missed with some close pitches and got behind. I got behind Freese and tried to throw the ball low and away but he hit it for a double. When a team like that gets off to a fast start, the way they grind out at-bats, they feed off each other."
Curtis Partch came on from the bullpen. The rookie walked Craig, Holliday and Freese, then allowed a double by Jay. The Cardinals led 8-0 after four innings.
"It was a bad night," Dusty Baker said. "Bronson got some pitches up and there are a lot of guys over there that have had success with him in his career. I had to leave Partch out there. I didn't want to go through my entire bullpen."
Partch surrendered a not-so harmless home run to Descalso. Partch got a pair of fly ball outs, then walked Beltran. Craig hit his 11th home run to give the Cardinals a 12-0 lead.
The Reds drove Miller from the game in the sixth. Choo walked in front of Derrick Robinson's single. Votto hit his 17th home run of the season and the 150th of his career to prevent a shutout.
Descalso greeted Logan Ondrusek with his second home run of the game and his fifth of the season in the seventh. It was the first multi-home run game of his career.
"The Cardinals came in cold," Baker said. "Tomorrow it could be our turn. It all depends on the starting pitcher. We need to have a good game. The beauty of baseball is you have a chance the next day. That's the way it is. These guys don't need me to tell them that."
The Reds players were ready to turn the page after the game ended.
"This is a game that depends on how short a memory you have. We will be back out here tomorrow," Bruce said.
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