ST. LOUIS -- With Reds pitchers struggling lately, the onus is really on the offense to produce. Not only did the hitters not shy away from the challenge during a 9-8 victory over the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium, they deserved kudos on two fronts.
First, the Reds battled back from a 4-0 deficit in the second inning after just losing a 14-3 game Friday night. Then, they kept applying pressure on St. Louis with enough add-on runs. It was a win that lacked style points, but that didn't matter.
"I think a lot of wind can come out of the sails of a ballclub down that many, that early," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Credit to the players, the guys went after it."
It took a 15-hit attack that included a club-record-tying nine doubles in the game, two each from Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips. All but one member of the starting nine -- except Scott Schebler, who had an RBI groundout-- had at least one hit. Even starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan had two hits.
During their four-game losing streak, the Reds were outscored, 36-9, with Friday's blowout being a low moment of the young season. When Finnegan gave up a three-run homer to Stephen Piscotty, he put the team down four runs in the second inning.
"In baseball you have to come back no matter what happens the previous day and be ready to play and come back with energy," said Cozart, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and raised his average to .480. "Obviously, that's a good thing for our club today to come out and show energy. We got down early and some teams can say, 'Oh, here we go again.'
"We just have to keep battling. We wanted to put up as many runs as we could and make it easier on our pitching. It's a big win for us. We showed a lot of grit today."
The Reds scored two runs in the fourth inning against Adam Wainwright, who had given up one run over his last 23 innings in three starts against them since 2014. Then they scored two more in the fifth, courtesy of RBI doubles by Cozart and Phillips to tie the game. A four-run sixth came when nine men batted and collected five hits.
It was an 8-6 game when Bruce added a solo homer in the top of the ninth. It proved huge as the bullpen faltered again with J.J. Hoover giving up a two-run homer, before getting out of the inning with a one-run victory.
"Every run you can get is important," Bruce said. "We haven't been playing great, that's going to happen. You have to be able to stop it, and we did today, and that's good."
Reds pitchers have given up five or more runs in six of the team's 11 games this season. Until that is buttoned up, hitters should be prepared to rise up to out-slug opponents.
"I think scoring runs isn't going to be a huge challenge, enough runs to win, if we pitch well," Price said. "Today was a big lift because since we've been on the road, we've been giving up runs in bunches. We've had to really finally put together a complete offensive game to bring home a win."