The Cincinnati Reds needed a win and they came through in the biggest of ways. They started quick and early, taking a 7-0 lead after just the second inning. They would add innings of seven and five runs later as they hit six home runs and had 11 extra-base hits in the game to blow out the St. Louis Cardinals 19-2 to open up the final series of the regular season.
|Cincinnati Reds (82-78)
|St. Louis Cardinals (69-91)
|W: Williamson (5-5) L: Woodford (2-3) SV: Spiers (1)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
The Cincinnati Reds are running out of time to add wins and they wasted little of it to jump all over Jake Woodford and the St. Louis Cardinals. Two singles preceded a 3-run homer by Nick Martini in the 1st inning that put the Reds on top. The next inning saw them pad their lead some more when Elly De La Cruz walked and scored on a Will Benson triple. Jonathan India then followed up with a 2-run homer. Spencer Steer capped off the inning with a homer of his own, running Woodford from the game, and making it 7-0.
St. Louis got something going in the bottom of the 3rd when Jose Fermin singled to lead off against Brandon Williamson. Richie Palacios followed up with 2-run homer to cut into Cincinnati’s lead.
The Reds wanted those runs back and they got them. Noelvi Marte led off the top of the 4th with a solo homer – extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Will Benson singled and stole second, then Jonathan India was hit by a pitch to put two men on. TJ Friedl followed up with an RBI double that plated a run and made it 9-2. Things weren’t over just yet as Christian Encarnacion-Strand unloaded on a home run that went into the third deck – Big Mac Land – down the left field line. His 3-run shot made it 12-2.
That led to yet another pitching change. It didn’t make a bit of a difference. Nick Martini hit a ground-rule double off of new pitcher Andrew Suarez and then Tyler Stephenson crushed a 428-foot homer to make it 14-2 in the top of the 4th inning. The bottom of the 4th inning ended with Elly De La Cruz jumping into the stands….
You've seen him run. You've seen him slug.
Now see Elly De La Cruz flash the leather ? pic.twitter.com/jk6Ry9cLtY
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 30, 2023
The game slowed down from there for a bit. Brandon Williamson allowed just the two runs in six innings before giving way to the bullpen. Carson Spiers, who was called up earlier in the day when Daniel Duarte was placed on the injured list, took over and fired a perfect 7th inning with the help of another outstanding defense play by Elly De La Cruz where he made a leaping grab on a soft liner in shallow left field.
The game picked up back up in the top of the 8th when the Reds had each of the first three batters reach, loading the bases and leading to yet another pitching change for the Cardinals. Jacob Barnes retired the first two batters he faced without allowing a run, but then Tyler Stephenson picked up an infield single and Masyn Winn threw the ball into the dugout in the process, bringing in two runs. Elly De La Cruz followed up with a 2-run triple and then scored on an infield single by Noelvi Marte as Cincinnati extended their lead to 17 runs.
Will Benson was called out on strikes to end the inning, and between innings he was ejected from the game. David Bell was out on the field, too, and he had a prolonged conversation with the umpire, and after more than seven minutes the game finally got back underway with Carson Spiers still on the mound for the Reds. He would keep the Cardinals off the board for the rest of the game and seal a 19-2 win while picking up his first big league save with three shutout innings.
Key Moment of the Game
Nick Martini’s 3-run homer in the 1st inning. It seemed to set a tone for the Reds on the day and they never took their foot off of the gas pedal.
Notes worth noting
Cincinnati just won their 82nd game of the year. That’s a winning record for the season, folks. Not bad for a team that no one predicted and no system projected for even 70 wins this season – even if there have been some hair-pulling moments.
The 14-game hitting streak by Noelvi Marte is the longest by a Cincinnati Reds rookie since 1988.
The 17-run margin was the largest over the Cardinals, ever. Hat tip to Matt Wilkes for pointing that one out.
Every hitter on the Reds who entered the game picked up at least one hit. Six players had two hits.
Miami came from behind as the Pirates blew a 3-0 lead in the 8th inning. The Cubs just lost in extra innings. That brings the Reds and Cubs to a tie, but both teams are 1.5 games behind the Marlins for the final wild card spot. Cincinnati and Chicago have two games remaining. Miami has two full games remaining, but if needed they will have to play on Monday in New York to finish up the suspended game from Thursday that they lead by a run in the top of the 9th inning. Arizona, who must lost out for them to possibly miss the playoffs, currently trails 2-0 to begin the 7th inning.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals
Saturday September 30th, 7:15pm ET
Connor Phillips (1-0, 5.66 ERA) vs Drew Rom (1-4, 7.98 ERA)