Game Report: Cardinals 8, Reds 2

By Rob Rains

After failing to pitch past the fifth inning in five of his previous six starts, Michael Wacha came into his start on Monday with his role in the Cardinals’ rotation very much in jeopardy.

His performance against the Reds, however, showed he doesn’t intend to lose that spot anytime soon.

In his best start in more than a month, Wacha limited the Reds to one run on five hits over six innings and got plenty of offensive help from his teammates to win the makeup of the game rained out on April 29 at Busch Stadium.

Randal Grichuk hit his second homer in as many games since returning from Memphis and drove in three runs. Jedd Gyorko also hit a two-run homer in the first inning to stake Wacha to an early lead, and finished with three RBIs.

The win was only the third for the Cardinals in 10 games against the Reds this season.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Making his first start of the season in the leadoff spot, Tommy Pham reached base four times on two hits and two walks, scoring three runs and driving in one. In the first, he advanced to second on a fly ball to center field, stole third and scored on a passed ball … Paul DeJong had three hits, two singles and a double … Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the third inning … Luke Voit doubled in the fifth for his first major-league hit.

On the mound: Wacha threw 88 pitches, 61 for strikes, while walking one and striking out five. The only run he allowed came in the fourth after Scooter Gennett singled off Wacha’s leg, went to third on a single by Joey Votto and scored on a sacrifice fly from Adam DuVall …. The Reds’ other run scored in the eighth off Tyler Lyons, also on two singles and another sacrifice fly from DuVall.

Key stat: Wacha has been very good when facing opponents for the first time through the batting order, holding them to a .182 average, but has struggled the second time through the order. Going into Monday, opponents were hitting .359 against him with 20 runs scored in those at-bats, but he only gave up two singles, and one run, on the Reds’ second turn through the order.

Worth noting: This is the first time the Cardinals have won consecutive games against anybody other than the Phillies since beating the Dodgers on May 31 and June 1 … Matt Carpenter, in a 3-for-25 slump in his last eight games, got the day off and Voit made his first career start in the majors at first base … Kolten Wong is expected to begin a minor-league rehab assignment as soon as Wednesday and could be activated from the DL this weekend when the Cardinals return home. He has been dealing with tightness in his right arm … The Cardinals promoted pitcher Zac Gallen, their fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft, from Springfield to Memphis on Monday as well as outfielder Adolis Garcia, filling the spots left by Voit and Mike Mayers’ promotions from Memphis to St. Louis on Sunday.

Looking ahead:
The Cardinals left for Arizona after the game for a quick three-game trip to play the Diamondbacks. Carlos Martinez will pitch the opener on Tuesday night against Taijuan Walker.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains