DeSclafani, 3-run first help Reds defeat Cardinals

DeSclafani, 3-run first help Reds defeat Cardinals

CINCINNATI -- The Reds jumped on Cardinals starter John Lackey for three first-inning runs on Tuesday and made that early advantage stand up in a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals to open up a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

The support was enough for Reds righty Anthony DeSclafani, who outpitched Lackey for the second time in a week.

"We talked collectively as a group to try to figure out another game plan because it didn't really go well over there," Matt Carpenter said of facing DeSclafani for a second time. "We made some adjustments and talked about some things we wanted to do, but he pitched well. Some of the things we weren't able to execute. And some of the things were also a matter of him executing what he was trying to do."

Lackey, who had limited Cincinnati to two hits over eight innings on Wednesday, was peppered for five in his opening frame. Jay Bruce, Marlon Byrd and Eugenio Suarez each had run-scoring hits in the 30-pitch inning.

Bruce's RBI double

DeSclafani (7-7) allowed seven hits and two runs -- both coming on a Carpenter homer -- over six innings. DeSclafani also racked up a career-high nine strikeouts.

"I was just locating better with two strikes or had them guessing a little bit," DeSclafani said of his performance. "I don't know what it was, but I had them guessing a little bit more today and threw a couple backdoor sliders there. Sliders with two strikes. So that's a difference."

DeSclafani strikes out Piscotty

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Hamilton robs Heyward: With the Reds clinging to a one-run lead in the top of the eighth inning, center fielder Billy Hamilton added another clip to his highlight reel. Jason Heyward was robbed of a leadoff extra-base hit when Hamilton made a leaping over-the-head catch right in front of the center-field wall. The strong defensive play by Hamilton kept Heyward off the basepaths and helped J.J. Hoover work through a scoreless inning.

"They told me I was flying like Superman out there or something," Hamilton said. "People are like, 'Oh man that play was unbelievable,' [and] I'm like it really doesn't feel that way when you catch it until you really, really look at it. Like I said, I haven't looked at it yet, but it was one of those plays I try to do for every one of our pitchers and it ended up working out for us." More >

Must C: Hamilton's electric grab

Power surge: Carpenter pulled the Cardinals to within one when he sent a 430-foot, two-run blast into the seats in right-center field with one out in the third. The homer was Carpenter's 14th of the season, already three more than his previous season-high set in 2013. Carpenter has gone deep four times in his last five games.

"Carp came up big for us… Gives us a little momentum going in the right direction," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We just had trouble putting hits together one on top of the other there."

Carpenter's two-run homer

Fast start for Reds: The Reds were swinging hot bats right away in the first inning. Cincinnati strung together five hits -- including RBI doubles by Bruce and Byrd -- to score three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Suarez each had singles, with Suarez also registering a RBI against Lackey.

"Five hits in the first inning and a lot of it was putting the ball in play," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Hit some balls good, with others we were just able to [just] put in play and put some things together."

Byrd's RBI double

Lackey settles in: Lackey wiggled out of a second-inning mess by striking out Todd Frazier and getting Bruce to ground out with runners on the corners. He sailed from there, as those were the first two outs in a string of 14 straight Lackey retired to close out his six-inning start. Lackey has now allowed three or fewer runs in 19 of his 22 starts this season.

"We've had to pitch pretty well to win games," Lackey said. "I was trying to hold them right there, but their guy was pitching pretty well, too." More >

Lackey's six solid innings

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Reds closer Aroldis Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to give him his 23rd consecutive scoreless appearance against the Cardinals. St. Louis hasn't scored off Chapman since Sept. 2, 2011. It was also Chapman's 56th consecutive converted save opportunity at Great American Ball Park. His last blown save at home came on Sept. 7, 2012, against the Astros.

"I refuse to give any guy in this league that much credit saying we're going in having to get it done in eight [innings] because we can't hit this guy," Matheny said. "It's not going to happen. We're going to get him. We will. It's just a matter of time." More >

Chapman earns save

WHAT'S NEXT

Cardinals: Carlos Martinez will make his 100th career appearance on Wednesday when he starts against the Reds. First pitch from Great American Ball Park is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT/7:10 p.m. ET. Martinez had a string of 11 consecutive quality starts snapped in his outing against Colorado on Thursday.

Reds: Left-handed rookie David Holmberg will make his second start of the season on Wednesday against the Cardinals. He picked up a victory in his season debut on Thursday against the Pirates and is 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his last four Major League starts dating back to Sept. 13, 2014.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Robert Bondy is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.