On Friday the hard-hitting Redbirds scored four runs in the first inning off veteran Bronson Arroyo. Two batters into the game on Saturday the Cardinals already had a one-run advantage, after Jon Jay walked to start the game and Carlos Beltran belted his fourth double in two games. Cingrani showed his competitive nature by getting a strike out of the dangerous Allen Craig. He walked Matt Holliday but fanned David Freese. Cingrani escaped by getting Danield Descalso on a routine fly to right.
"He walked Jay because he threw his first breaking ball to him and missed," Dusty Baker said. "I talked to Devin (Mesoraco) and him about it. We want him to use his breaking ball but not to the first batter. His pitch selection was better after that."
Cingrani pitched around Holliday.
"I wasn't going to give him anything good to hit," Cingrani said. "When I gave up that run, I was mad at myself. I felt better after we scored in the first."
The Reds came back tonight. Facing Jake Westbrook, the Reds answered quickly. Chris Heisey hit a one-out single through the hole at shortstop. Joey Votto walked. Brandon Phillips dribbler to third base put runners at second and third. The Cardinals put Jay Bruce on base intentionally to pitch to Jack Hannahan, who sported a .212 batting average. Hannahan was playing in place of the slumping, Todd Frazier.
"It was a match up thing," Baker said before the game. "Westbrook's sinker is tough on right-handers."
Hannahan rewarded the manager's choice with a two-out, two-run single to put the Reds up.
Devin Mesoraco added to the lead in the fourth with a two-run home run. Phillips followed Votto's second walk of the game with a double to the base of the wall in rightcenter. The Reds held a 5-1 lead into the sixth.
Cingrani kept the Cardinals in check until then. Holliday doubled. Freese walked. Descalso hit a hard single to center to load the bases.
Baker went to his bullpen.
Alfredo Simon got Rob Johnson, who replaced Yadier Molina on the Cardinals roster, to hit a ball hard on one hop that Phillips backhanded to force Descalso with Holliday scoring. Baker brought in Manny Parra to face Pete Kozma, who got a run home with a broken bat ground ball to Phillips. Parra struck out pinch hitter Brock Peterson to end the threat.
The Reds botched a huge scoring chance in the seventh. Heisey was hit by a pitch. Votto singled to right with Heisey moving to third. Cardinal manager Mike Matheny ordered Phillips walked intentionally. Matheny asked left-handed specialist Randy Choate to get Bruce out. Choat struck out the Reds' rightfielder, who is fourth in the NL with 74 RBI. Matheny brought in Michael Blazek, who got pinch hitter Derrick Robinson out on a shallow fly to leftfield. Blazek struck out Zack Cozart to end the seventh.
J.J. Hoover struck out Holliday and Freese in the eighth, then got Descalso on a ground out to first.
The Reds broke loose in the eighth.
Mesoraco belted his second home run of the game, leading off the inning. Frazier walked then Shin-Soo Choo belted his 15th home run of the year. It was Mesoraco's first career multi-home run game.
"My swing feels better," Mesoraco said. "Getting additional reps, helps. When you are hitting you feel more confident and that's what I'm feeling now."
The Reds didn't want to rush the young catcher and are starting to reap the benefits of his talents.
"We brought him along slowly," Baker said. "He had a lot to learn when he got here. He still has a lot to learn but he's picked up a lot from (Ryan) Hanigan and Buzz (Corky Miller). "
The Reds have a chance to take a series from the Cardinals.
'Tomorrow is huge," Baker said. "We haven't won a series in awhile."