ST. LOUIS -- Even before Johnny Cueto was traded on Sunday, the Reds' rotation has been filled with young starters learning on the job, making mistakes. Without Cueto, and possibly Mike Leake, there will be more mistakes and more lessons the rest of the season.
Rookie Raisel Iglesias was reminded of that Monday after he backed himself into a corner during a fourth inning that did in him and the Reds for a 4-1 loss vs. the Cardinals.
"Every time I go out there and work, I learn something new," Iglesias said through translator Tomas Vera. "I learn a lot every day I pitch. You realize at this level that you cannot commit a mistake. Every time you make one mistake, things happen -- really fast. I'm learning every day."
Cincinnati had a 1-0 lead when Yadier Molina led off the St. Louis fourth inning with a double to left field that was followed by Stephen Piscotty's lined single. Peter Bourjos was hit by a pitch with one out to load the bases, and after Lance Lynn went down swinging, up stepped Kolten Wong.
"What happened after I gave up the leadoff double to Molina, I tried to be perfect," Iglesias said. "I tried to not commit any mistakes when having the guy on second. It took me to what happened."
Iglesias fell into a 2-0 hole before reaching a full count and offering a fastball over the heart of the plate. Wong was sitting on the fastball and crushed the 92-mph pitch for a grand slam.
"It was a really hard at-bat. It was difficult for me, because I was thinking about the inning before that," Iglesias said. "I struck him out with two bad pitches. In that situation, this at-bat, I threw those bad pitches and he didn't do anything. So he made the adjustment real fast. I had to come back with something hard and in the middle, and you saw the consequence."
In seasons like this for the 43-54 Reds, the positives will have been found beneath the surface. On Monday, it was that Iglesias worked six innings and gave up only those four runs on six hits with no walks, seven strikeouts and three hit batters. It was the second time this season he went six or more innings.
Iglesias retired seven of his last eight batters.
"The positive is he came back and gave us two scoreless innings," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That was our goal after that grand slam -- not to lose it, mentally. He had to show the ability to rebound."
Iglesias, now 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA in nine starts, has had some promising outings that have been derailed the third time through the order.
"That's going to be one of big growing parts for Raisel this year. Having to pitch through those tough innings and then go another time through the lineup," Price said. "It wasn't the result we wanted. But he did come back and give two scoreless innings. For him, it's a step in the right direction. Still, it's another loss."