CINCINNATI -- Yadier Molina has been Public Enemy No. 1 inside Great American Ball Park the past few seasons, typically drawing a chorus of boos whenever his name is whispered at the stadium. The boos weren't as pronounced Thursday, but Molina's reputation for being a thorn in the side of the Reds was only enhanced.
Molina went 3-for-4, including a single with the bases loaded to break a tie in the top of the eighth inning, as the Cardinals rallied to beat the Reds, 3-2.
"Yadi is, gosh, he's been a Reds killer for years and years and years," Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright said. "I think one time, it was Opening Day a few years back against the Reds and [Johnny] Cueto, he hit a home run and we won, 1-0. He's the guy you want up in a big spot."
Molina's single off Cincinnati reliever Ross Ohlendorf (4-5) brought home Aledmys Diaz with what proved to be the winning run as the Cardinals took two of three games in their first visit to Cincinnati this season. St. Louis reliever Seung Hwan Oh (2-0) pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the win, while Trevor Rosenthal picked up his 11th save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
Wainwright got off to a rough start Thursday as the Reds scored twice against him on two hits in the first inning to take the early lead. Jay Bruce had an RBI groundout, while Adam Duvall laced an RBI single, but the Cardinals got one run back in the second inning on an RBI single by Brandon Moss.
That's when both starting pitchers got stingy. Wainwright retired 14 batters in a row, while Reds lefty Brandon Finnegan retired 12 in a row before walking Matt Carpenter with one out in the sixth inning. Carpenter went to second base on a balk by Finnegan, called by home-plate umpire Jerry Meals, and then scored on an RBI single by Diaz to tie the game at 2.
"It's the same thing I've been doing the entire year. Nobody's called it yet, and I feel like if anybody is going to call a balk, it's going to be the first-base umpire," said Finnegan. "At the same time, I threw a good pitch after that and a broken-bat single scored him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Wainwright mows 'em down: After a two-hit, two-run first inning, it looked like it was going to be a long night for Wainwright. Instead, he settled down, allowing just one baserunner over his final five innings -- a hit-by-pitch to Joey Votto. Wainwright also set a new season high in strikeouts with nine. More >
Tough-minded lefty: The Cardinals put two runners on base in the seventh inning, but Finnegan retired the next three batters in a row to keep the game tied. Entering the seventh with 96 pitches thrown, Finnegan got Jedd Gyorko to hit into a 6-5 force play, and then induced fly-ball outs by Randal Grichuk and pinch-hitter Jhonny Peralta to end the threat.
"He's not going to implode. I trust him. I have faith in him. He's a feisty guy," said manager Bryan Price. "He keeps his head clear and makes good pitches. If he didn't have the maturity, if he was more apt to cave in those tougher spots when things aren't going his way, he wouldn't be getting the ball in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game."
Yadi hits thrice: In the second inning, Molina's one-out double set St. Louis up to score its first run of the game, getting one back after the Reds scored twice in the first. In the eighth, Molina delivered his go-ahead RBI single, marking his third three-hit game of the season.
"It's interesting, because every time somebody starts maybe not producing like they normally should, we all want to think, 'Man, he's tired,' but he just consistently says he's feeling really good, just his timing's off, it happens to everybody," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "So it's nice to see as he continues just to push through this to see that yeah, he does feel good and he's going to have some hits that come with it."
Not this time: Votto delivered a walk-off home run off Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist on Tuesday night, but in the eighth inning with the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base Thursday, Siegrist got Votto to ground into a 6-4 forceout to preserve a one-run lead.
In the top of the eighth inning, Diaz laid down a sacrifice bunt to try to move Carpenter from second to third after his leadoff double. Votto fielded the ball and tried to get Carpenter at third. The call on the field was that Carpenter beat the tag from Eugenio Suarez, which was later confirmed by a replay review.
In the bottom of the eighth, Reds pinch-hitter Ivan De Jesus Jr. hit a flare into shallow right field. Charging hard, Stephen Piscotty laid out and seemingly made a diving catch. Having already used his challenge, Price requested that the umpires look at whether Piscotty trapped the ball. After the replay review, it was determined that Piscotty did not make the catch. De Jesus Jr. was awarded first base, and Tyler Holt, already on first after a leadoff single, was awarded second base.
"It's a joke," Matheny said. "They can review it as many times as you want. There was going to be an out at second base. The runner wasn't even hardly off first base. … I hope they go back and review that and somebody's held accountable, because that could be a game-changing play."
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: The Cardinals send a struggling Michael Wacha to the mound to try to get things right against the Pirates on Friday in a 6:05 p.m. CT opener at PNC Park. Wacha has a 9.00 ERA over his last five starts.
Reds:Anthony DeSclafani, who was scheduled to be the Opening Day starter, makes his 2016 debut after battling an oblique strain when he takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series against the A's at Great American Ball Park on Friday. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET.