What a difference a day makes. After Cincinnati took the Cardinals to task with a 17-run victory on Friday night, St. Louis flipped the script and took the Reds to task on Saturday night as they put together three different multi-run innings in a 15-6 drubbing that eliminated Cincinnati from the playoff chase.
|Cincinnati Reds (82-79)
|St. Louis Cardinals (70-91)
|W: VerHagen (5-1) L: Phillips (1-1)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
If you were a Reds fan watching this game and knew what had to happen, the first inning was nightmare fuel. Connor Phillips, making his fifth start of his big league career, threw 12 pitches without a strike to begin the bottom of the 1st before exiting the game with the bases loaded and no outs. Cincinnati was going to ask their bullpen to threw nine innings in a true must-win game.
Fernando Cruz entered from the bullpen and got ahead of Jordan Walker 0-2, but then a splitter hung at the top of the zone and Walker crushed a 2-run double. Ivan Herrera followed up with a 2-run double of his own. Luken Baker then picked up an RBI double and it was 5-0 at the end of the inning.
After the Reds got two men on in the top of the 2nd they would try what feels like their favorite move of stealing second with the hopes of a throw to the bag before trying to steal home, but Noelvi Marte – who extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single earlier in the inning – was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Cardinals picked up right where they left off. A single, double, and a 3-run homer from Lars Nootbaar made it 8-0 and ended the day for Fernando Cruz. Buck Farmer entered the game and gave up a double, walk, and then a 2-run double in the inning and before you could think about the implications of the loss it was 10-0.
Ben Lively took over for Cincinnati in the bottom of the third and he gave up a single and an RBI double that made it 11-0. He’d get three straight ground outs after that to get out of the inning. The Reds got on the board in the next half-inning after Noelvi Marte, TJ Friedl, and Elly De La Cruz all singled with two outs in the inning to bring a run around the bases.
In the top of the 5th inning the Reds offense went back to work. Nick Senzel homered to make it 11-2, but that was just the start of things. Spencer Steer doubled, Christian Encarnacion-Strand walked, the Cardinals went to their bullpen and it didn’t matter as Tyler Stephenson and Noelvi Marte both doubled off of Andre Pallante to bring in three more runs and make it 11-5.
Neither team did anything in the 6th, but Cincinnati added to their run column in the 7th when Noelvi Marte crushed a 1-out home run – his 4th hit of the game. A pitching change brought in lefty Matthew Liberatore and he got two straight ground outs to end the inning.
After back-to-back lineouts by the Reds they were able to get two singles in a row from Nick Martini and Spencer Steer in the 8th to start putting pressure on the Cardinals once again. Christian Encarnacion-Strand then walked to load the bases for Cincinnati, but Tyler Stephenson would ground out to strand all three runners as the dreams of a postseason began to fade.
Elly De La Cruz, who made several outstanding defensive plays on Friday night, began the bottom of the 8th with another one on a shallow fly ball into left-center field as he made a running catch over his shoulder while sliding.
What an incredible effort by Elly De La Cruz! ? pic.twitter.com/hTI77bDJcW
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) October 1, 2023
The rest of the inning didn’t go well. Ian Gibaut would give up two singles and a walk while recording one out in the middle before exiting with the bases loaded and giving way to Alexis Diaz. He walked the first two batters he saw before giving up a 2-run single that made it 15-6. The Reds then went to the bullpen once again, calling on Alex Young to try and mercifully end the inning. He did just that, needing two pitches to get a ground out to send the game to the 9th.
Cincinnati needed nine runs in the 9th inning to keep the game going. They saw seven pitches while being retired in order. The loss ends the Reds chances of making the playoffs.
Key Moment of the Game
Connor Phillips 12th consecutive ball thrown to start the game and load the bases. It led to a pitching change with no outs in the 1st inning and set the Cardinals up for a big inning, which was followed by another big inning and they never looked back.
Notes worth noting
Cincinnati used nine pitchers to throw eight innings. Sam Moll and Lucas Sims were the only pitchers to record more than one out and not allow a run.
The pitching staff walked 10 batters and had just three strikeouts.
Noelvi Marte’s 15-game hitting streak is the longest by a Reds rookie since 1946 when Benny Zientara had a 16-game streak. He’s now hitting .318 in 34 games since being called up.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals
Sunday October 1st, 3:15pm ET
Hunter Greene (4-6, 4.71 ERA) vs Miles Mikolas (8-13, 4.82 ERA)