Feldman improves command for first win of '17

Reds righty finds success vs. Cardinals with changeup

Feldman improves command for first win of '17

ST. LOUIS -- The Reds have often known tough times at Busch Stadium and, even though it's his first season with the club, starting pitcher Scott Feldman can relate. Feldman was with the Rangers in 2011 and faced the Cardinals five times in the World Series. It included a blown save in the 10th inning of Game 6 and allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning in Game 7.

None of that mattered, obviously, on Sunday as Feldman delivered exactly what the Reds needed in an 8-0 victory over the Cardinals and their ace, Carlos Martinez. Feldman pitched six-plus innings with four hits, one walk and six strikeouts for his first victory with Cincinnati.

"The maturation to be able to be in the ballgame where it's a low-scoring game [until the sixth inning] against an ace and just leaving it there and not making too big of a deal," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He really attacked. He stays on plan. He does that so well."

Feldman, who has induced ground balls over 47 percent of the time during his career, effectively used his sinker for 35 of his 101 pitches. Seven of his first nine outs came via ground balls.

Then in the fourth through sixth innings, Feldman went a different route and notched five strikeouts.

"He kept us off balance," Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk said, as his team lost a series to the Reds in St. Louis for only the fourth time in 29 series since August 2006. "He was cutting it and sinking it. Throw that back-door sinker to righties and throw that cutter right off of it. He was nibbling. He pitched well today."

Feldman, a 34-year-old who was signed as a free agent to a one-year, $2.3 million contract in January, was brought in to help stabilize a young rotation and provide innings. He wasn't successful on Opening Day, when he lasted 4 2/3 innings and threw 99 pitches in a 4-3 loss.

"My command was a lot better this time," Feldman said. "It makes it a lot easier to pitch when the guys come out and put all those runs on the board. Stewie [catcher Stuart Turner] called a great game behind the plate. Everything was kind of working today."

Turner doubles for first hit

That included a pitch Feldman has been working on during Spring Training, the changeup. According to Statcast™, he threw only nine of them, but got five strikes.

"When you can show you can throw it for a strike sometimes, it's always in the back of their heads thinking about it," Feldman said. "I think just being able to do that, even on a day like today, where I didn't get any outs with it, but got a swing at it and fouled it off, it's in their head for sure. It makes my other three pitches maybe a little more effective."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.