The Cincinnati Reds scored four runs in the first inning and they just played add on from there as they pounded out 18 hits on the night. Ben Lively matched a career high in strikeouts and the bullpen took care of the rest with Eduardo Salazar making his big league debut and wrapping the game up in the 9th to seal a 10-3 win on Wednesday night.

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (22-29)
3 8 1
Cincinnati Reds (21-28)
10 18 0
W: Lively (2-2) L: Matz (0-6)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Ben Lively ran into some early trouble, giving up a 1-out single to Paul Goldschmidt and a 2-out walk to Nolan Arenado before he struck out Willson Contreras to get out of the jam. That would work out well because Cincinnati’s offense went right to work in the bottom of the inning. A walk by Jonathan India was followed in the inning by three singles and capped off by a 2-run double from Kevin Newman that put the Reds up 4-0.

Two innings later Cincinnati tacked on another run and it came when Nick Senzel, Stuart Fairchild, and Kevin Newman strung together three straight singles. The Cardinals were able to get that run back when Brendan Donovan hit a solo home run to lead off the 4th. In the bottom of the inning the Cardinals defense gave one back as Matt McLain hit a long drive to right field, but Oscar Mercado set up at the base of the wall and leapt and should have caught the ball just shy of the wall, but instead had it pop out of his glove and go over his head into the first row of seats for a solo homer that made it 6-1.

Lars Nootbaar picked that run right back up for St. Louis with a solo home run to lead off the 5th inning, but that was all that the Cardinals would get against Ben Lively over the next two innings. He would finished with just two earned runs given up in his 6.0 innings and he matched his career high of eight strikeouts (which he has done twice before). Before Lively was officially out of the game the offense provided more wiggle room on a sacrifice fly by Nick Senzel and an RBI double by Stuart Fairchild that made it 8-2.

Cincinnati wasn’t done there, though. After Kevin Herget threw a shutout 7th inning, the Reds played add on with one out. Jonathan India singled and moved to third on a double by Spencer Steer. Spencer Steer then came through with hit number four of the night – a single that plated both runners – to make it 10-2.

Holding a 10-2 lead, Cincinnati turned the game over to Eduardo Salazar in the top of the 9th inning. The right-handed reliever was called up earlier in the day and was making his big league debut. After getting Tommy Edman to fly out to start the inning he walked Alec Burleson. Oscar Mercado then followed up with a double to put put two men in scoring position. The Cardinals picked up a run on an infield single that was originally ruled a ground out, but replay showed that Lars Nootbaar beat Salazar to the bag. With Paul Goldschmidt due up, St. Louis pinch hit Andrew Knizner and he grounded out to Salazar for the second out of the inning. He would pick up his first strikeout to end the game and guarantee at least a series split for the Reds over the Cardinals.

Key Moment of the Game

The first inning of the game that saw the Reds grab a 4-0 lead and they never looked back from there.

Notes Worth Noting

The first seven batters in the lineup all had at least two hits.

Spencer Steer had four hits, extending his hitting streak to seven games. Since May 15th he’s hitting .385.

Eduardo Salazar giving up a double in the 9th to Oscar Mercado was the first non-single he had allowed in 2023.

Ben Lively pitched in six games for Louisville this season and never struck out more than four batters in a game. He’s doubled that number in his two starts for Cincinnati this year. His ERA is now sitting at 2.65 through four appearances.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

St. Louis Cardinals vs Cincinnati Reds

Thursday May 25th, 12:35pm ET

Miles Mikolas (2-1, 4.77 ERA) vs Luke Weaver (1-2, 6.54 ERA)

68 Responses

  1. Optimist

    Nice to see some very good small sample sizes.

  2. wkuchad

    I thought our best chance to win a game in this series was last night. Well, that’s the only game we’ve lost so far. That’s part of baseball, you never know how things will turn out. Go Reds!

    • BK

      You just never know. The Reds have done well against LHP this year.

  3. Eddiuy

    Nice win. Defense looked great. Bullpen got a day off for the most part. And the new guy pitched in a win

  4. LDS

    Well, I doubt anyone here had Lively pegged as the staff “ace” at this point of the season. Probably won’t last, but it’s fun at the moment. Beating the Cards is always a good day.

    • 2020ball

      That’s why you make those signing that a lot of people call “dumpster diving”. Depth matters.

    • Luke J

      Well, I mean, he’s not the staff ace so I guess everyone was right. 😉

      But it is nice to see him pitching well. Remember though, Ashcraft was leading the entire major leagues in WAR after the first month of the season. You can’t really call someone a staff ace based on a couple starts.

      • LDS

        Hence the quotes around ace. It’s a comment on tendency of folks here to jump the gun and draw conclusions on small sample size.

  5. MK

    Had you told me going into the season that On May 23 Ben Lively would have as many wins as Lodolo and Ashcraft and two more than Greene I would have thought you were nuts. I thought Lively might be challenged to start for the Bats. Good for him,

  6. Rcsodak

    21-18 so far. Just hope they keep the 3 run advantage.

    • Doc

      Would it not be impossible to keep the three run advantage, unless you are rooting for a rainout or a tie? If they win Thursday the advantage grows, if they lose it shrinks. I prefer they increase the three run advantage!

  7. MBS

    Steer with a 4 hit game! McLain with another game today, his OPS is almost to 1.000, just like it was in AAA.

    Lively doesn’t want to go back to AAA. Add his name to the list of pitchers who have surprised me in 23.

    • JayTheRed

      But as some have said McClain is struggling. Hahaha….

      • 2020ball

        He’s striking out a lot, but thats fine if you’re still doing damage. If he cleans that up…look out.

      • Reaganspad

        And some struggle to spell his name correctly

    • MFG

      This Reds team is fun to watch and listen to, frustrating at times but fun.
      They are scrappy!

  8. Redsvol

    No will Mets and no curt casali. That was a good lineup tonight.

    But the key was the pitching. Lively is getting it done and has the pitches and experience overseas to keep hitters off balance. We need 1 more veteran like him.

    Can’t recall senzel playing left field before. But it’s a good idea since it’s less demanding than center and we have some guys who can play center better then we can now.

    Good time to bring in a new relief pitcher. Get his feet wet in low pressure situation.

  9. David

    Tomorrow will be a difficult chore to beat the Cardinals, with Luke Weaver pitching. He has struggled to get of of the 4th inning.

    Mikolas pitching for the Cardinals does not have a stellar ERA or WHIP for the season, but in his last 7 games, his ERA is something like 2.92.

    Depending on the outcome of the next couple of starts for Weaver, the pressure might mount to replace him with Andrew Abbott, who pitched very well for the Bats today.

    Kudos for Ben Lively and his pitching today. Pitching more important that just throwing a 98 mph fastball.

    • JayTheRed

      You know what I have liked about Lively so far is that he pitches the ball all over the zone. Seems to have a good idea what he is doing out there each game so far.

      • greenmtred

        +500 Fun to watch that kind of pitching.

    • Old Big Ed

      Weaver has had trouble with the 3rd time through the order. The league is slashing .367/.387/.767 against him the third time through. He is the perfect guy to use an opener with, because it would let him face the bottom part of the order, rather than the top of the order, when he pitches about his fifth inning.

      If an opener and Weaver can keep the opponent to less than 3 or 4 runs through the 6th, they’ve done well enough for a fifth starter.

  10. RedsGettingBetter

    Ben Lively makes me remember Connor Overton last season. But now, I hope he could stay healthy along the 2023 season and performing as he has done so far..
    McLain is proving his numbers at AAA weren’t things of just luck, really he can hit…
    The lineup worked better without Myers….

    • Melvin

      “McLain is proving his numbers at AAA weren’t things of just luck, really he can hit…”

      Yepper! 🙂 Too bad we don’t anybody else down there that can help us up here. 😉

    • Doug Gray

      Ben Lively has more strikeouts in his two starts with the Reds (16) than Overton had in 33.0 innings last year with the Reds (14). Not that I think Lively’s going to keep that kind of thing going, but Overton was walking the tight rope like he was one of the Wallendas last year.

  11. Ron

    Very fun game to watch. Steer and McLain are the real deal and it looks like Stephenson may finally be finding his stroke.

    There are two moves that should be made before the Reds head to Chicago.
    1 De La Cruz up – Barrero down to Louisville.
    2 CES up – Myers released.

    It may not be fair to compare AAA stats with major league stats but I will anyway. (avg/ ops/ hr/rbi)
    De La Cruz (.282/.965/7/26)
    Barrero (.222/.618/1/12)

    CES (.353/1.090/11/25)
    Myers (.189/.540/3/12)

    Where do they play?
    De La Cruz (3B,SS, maybe OF)
    CES (DH/1B)

    • SteveAReno

      Right, not fair or logical to compare the minor league with the major. In triple AAA you can bat against some pitching that is really suspect.

    • Luke J

      In his first season at Louisville (comparing apples to apples with De la Cruz’s first stint at Louisville on his ascent through the minors) in 2021, Barrero hit .306/.392/.594.

      I think sometimes we get enamored with minor league stats. But it really is absurd to compare them with major league stats. Barrero was a beast in the minors just like Elly. People quickly forget.

      • wkuchad

        I’ll never forget.

        RIP Brandon Larson’s career.

      • JB

        Bingo with the Brandon Larson mentioning.

  12. JB WV

    I’m starting to get excited about the next couple years and even the rest of this year. Larkin made a comment tonight about how these guys coming up-Steer, McClain- have a driven mind-set to succeed, taking extra batting practice, soaking up the info coming to them, that’s so refreshing. Definitely a positive comment. But does that throw a little shade on guys like Barrero, hinting that maybe they took it for granted?

    • 2020ball

      Barrero’s played a positive role for this team IMO, even with his struggles. There’s no reason why he can’t eventually figure it out.

      • Indy Red Man

        The problem with Barrero as a Red is we have a bunch of shortstops and utility types. I would think atleast 2-3 teams might take a shot with this kid and give him 500 at-bats which the Reds aren’t going to do. So in summary do him a solid and trade him for a live arm

      • Jim t

        The issue with Barrero is he can’t stop chasing breaking balls a foot off the plate. He has tools but until he improves his pitch recognition he will be a liability.

      • TR

        I feel bad for Barrero. He’s got all that is needed defensively. But offensively, doing one of the hardest things in sports, it’s just not there. And at this point I don’t think it’s going to get much better. A talented defensive player but not a regular.

      • Steven Ross

        I hope Barrero figures it out but I’m of the belief he’s on borrowed time with Reds. McLain is our SS for now with too many top flight prospects in the pipeline.

      • Jim Walker

        @IRM>>> Barrero and our guy Fairchild are in the same boat as far as getting PAs. I did a little back of the digital envelope look at Fairchild’s week so far starting with the Yankees series thru Wednesday night. In 13PAs he has 7 hit balls with an Exit Velo >90mph including 3 with an EV >95. He has K’ed just 2 times and walked 1once.

        His BA/OBP/SLG?/OPS line in these games is .333/.385/.417/.801, good for a 127 OPS+.

        Unfortunately, it would take some serious digging to get his handedness splits for just the week, but my eye/memory test is that probably just short of half of the PAs were against RH pitching b/c 3 were last night.

        A person would think they would play him more now if for no other reason than to try and build a trade value at the deadline which looks like a lost cause with Myers.

      • MK

        I remember when Iglesias played short and was hitting much better than expected, Bell’s comment was that many light hitting Latin shortstops become positive offensively later in their careers. To think of some examples of this with the Reds, not only Iglesias but Concepcion and Cardenas follow this theory. Just maybe Barrero will be the same.

      • Redsvol

        Barerro is going to figure it out! If someone will just let him play. It may take an off-season of intense video and pitch recognition study for him to take a leap. He is simply too young and talented and has demonstrated minor league ability for him not to figure it out.

        He is not Brandon Larson for sure. I just hope management doesn’t give up on him and instead doubles down on his talent and gets him the hitting instructor he needs to take the next step.

        Maybe Miguel Tejada or Tony Fernandez would take on a “project” this off season to get him recognizing sliders and which ones he has no chance on. Coming from Cuba, I think he is still very raw in his understanding of hitting.

    • Luke J

      Barrero has been known for his extra work. He injured his wrist in the off season because he was working so hard on his hitting every day to get better. I don’t know where you got the impression that Larkin was throwing shade on Barrero, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Barrero might be struggling to make the big league transition, but one thing’s for sure, you can’t question his work ethic.

    • BK

      I’m not at all down on Barrero. Player development is rarely linear. He’s making progress and, by all accounts putting in the work. With his talent and work ethic, I’m confident things will eventually come together.

  13. Bdh

    Lively looking like the pitcher he was when Cincinnati traded him for Marlon Byrd nearly a decade ago! What a breath of fresh air he and Williamson have been in the back of the rotation. Now let’s get the big guns healthy and going at the front end

    Also Herget has been great in his multi inning relief role. Another quality find!

  14. 2020ball

    Nice line up and defense by Bell, hindsight 100

  15. Rednat

    i have enjoyed listening to THE COWBOY on the radio this year. I like his mentality and I think could make a good manager for the reds. I think the younger players would respond to him.

    • Jim t

      No one will be a good manager for the reds until Ownership commits to putting a winning team on the field.

      • Redsvol

        Dusty was a good manager. And he got ridden out of town because he lost in the playoffs. Wouldn’t it be nice for the words Reds and Playoffs to be in the same sentence again.

  16. TR

    A winning consistently competitive team needs ownership that has a good farm system combined with the ability to spend money for, at least, a couple needed veterans to bring it all together.

  17. Jim t

    @TR couldn’t agree more. My fear is this is not that ownership.

  18. Doc

    Per MLB Trade Rumors, Reds BP is 10th overall in MLB with a 3.72 ERA despite being 4th overall in total innings pitched. Reds starters are 2nd worst in MLB innings pitched.

    • SultanofSwaff

      I was looking at stats too this AM. In the NL, Reds starting pitchers are 1st in HR allowed, and 14th in IP. Bullpen is 2nd in ERA, 2nd most IP. Even Ray Charles can see we need more from the starters to protect the bullpen with 2/3 of the season to go. On the other side of the ball, hitters are 14th in the NL in HRs, 4th in strikeouts. Looking around the division here’s some weaknesses that stood out–Cubs bullpen, Brewers offense, Cardinals starting pitching. Surprisingly, the Pirates have good starting and relieving pitching, and no glaring weaknesses. They’re seemingly not going anywhere.

      • David

        Yes, the Pirates actually have a pretty good pitching staff.
        If the Reds starting pitching would get better (looking at you, Luke Weaver and Graham Ashcraft), the Reds would win more games.
        Pitching wins games.

        And the Cardinals, as of this moment in time, do not have a very good pitching staff, and unless that changes, they are not going to win the NL Central division.

        For those who think the NL Central is weak, I give you the AL Central, which has one team barely over 0.500 winning percentage.

    • Jim t

      @Doc yea not getting many innings out of our starters. Not being effective and being on a 100 pitch limit is really taxing the bull pen.

    • MK

      You know Doc part of the starting pitcher innings pitched issue is three young starters who they are still treating carefully when it comes to pushing them aggressively.

      • REdsvol

        good point MK. Its pretty clear they aren’t letting any young pitcher go beyond 100 pitches – regardless of what inning it is. And I can’t really blame them. They are the future and a couple of them have already had injuries even though they haven’t come close to a 150 inning MLB season.

        This is why we should have signed another veteran or two this off-season, knowing they weren’t going to sniff 180 innings apiece.

  19. JB

    Right now Newman isn’t going anywhere as he is a solid bench piece. He will fetch more at the trade deadline than Myers at the moment. Newman can sit for a few days and still produce against lefties. Senzel playing left yesterday was a good sign that he can start against lefties for Fraley. Those two make a lethal left field. Friedl has shown he can hit no matter what arm is throwing. They need to find a right fielder now. If Barrero could just find his hitting stroke he would be a great right fielder with that arm of his.

    • SteveAReno

      The right fielder will be Henry Ramos when he comes back healthy.

      • Indy Red Man

        Never got the love for Ramos? Bell had him in there daily come hell or high water? He battles at the plate, but homerless in 62 at-bats and just .211 with risp. No thank you. If you’re not giving me EDLC yet then try someone else

      • Redsvol

        Fairchild or Barerro is a much better option IMO.

    • DHud

      Feels like Newman got to this team 1.5-2 yrs too early. He’d be that great utility guy off the bench for a really good team, but is he someone you throw money at now to keep around until then?

    • Jim Walker

      Agree with the prospect of Senzel as Fraley’s platoon partner. I am hope that would be a precursor to opening 3B for EDLS (or CES or moving Steer back to 3B thus opening 1B for CES)

      • Jim Walker

        Let’s try this again. Too much background stuff going on here….

        Agree with the prospect of Senzel as Fraley’s platoon partner. I am hoping that would be a precursor to opening 3B for EDLC (or CES or moving Steer back to 3B thus opening 1B for CES)

  20. Mark Moore

    The add-on work really helped. Very fun to watch.

  21. old-school

    Reds have had a couple of up/down stretches, but this could be a nice bounce-back after the Yankees sweep. Steer is now pushing 200 at bats and has a wRC+ of 112 and leads the team in homers. That works for a rookie. Like watching India, Steer, Senzel, Friedl , McLain play every day mostly and Fraley is a good hitter against lefties. This team is way more watchable than the 2022 team. I still believe Stephenson will warm up this summer. I was wrr….wrrrr……wrrrrroooong on Will Myers. I liked the signing at the time but his 38% K rate and fWAR of -0.8 just keeps getting worse.

    Hopefully they get the series today. That would be fun.

  22. old-school

    Myers is out again. Thats 3/5 games he isnt starting and back to back. Is this a mental break sorta like Votto and Suarez from years past when they sat several days in a row???Or, are the Reds actually playing guys based on performance and he’s moved down the depth chart or is there a nagging injury we don’t know about?

    • Jim Walker

      There was a tweet from Charlie at the Enquire that Bell said Myers was dealing with something “minor” but, the IL was not being discussed at this time.

    • Redsvol

      I would be just fine if Myers never took the field again for Reds. His skills have degraded rapidly for his age. Play the young guys. When Votto comes back, designate Myers.