Shelby Miller‘s two-out walk to light-hitting Billy Hamilton set the stage for Todd Frazier to rip a fastball over the center field fence for the telling blow in Friday night’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. It was a three-run homer, and the Reds led after three innings played. Cincinnati went on to win 5-3.
Homer Bailey and Shelby Miller entered the game experiencing widely disparate results from similar pitching profiles. Bailey has been hit hard and for a lot of home runs, but there’s nothing wrong with him physically, and most of his metrics are in line with past years. Miller leads the league in walks, and has had a lot of good luck, but was on a personal six-game winning streak.
The Cardinals immediately answered in the fourth inning. Matt Carpenter singled. Kolten Wong walked. After a slowly-hit Matt Holliday ground-out moved the runners to second and third, Allen Craig lashed a single to left field, scoring both runners. Yadier Molina smashed a hit after Craig, but Bailey retired Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta.
Jay Bruce led off the bottom of the fourth with a double. One out later, Ryan Ludwick moved Bruce to third base with a single. Brayan Pena, making a rare appearance at first base in place of Joey Votto, scored Bruce with a sacrifice fly, making the score 4-2 after four innings.
The Cardinals manufactured a run in the sixth inning, cutting the lead to 4-3. Jon Jay came to the plate for Shelby Miller with two on and two out. Bailey then whirled around and picked Jhonny Peralta off second base. Threat snuffed in the wink of an eye.
Again, the Reds added one run to their lead in the bottom of the frame. Seth Maness piped a sinker that didn’t sink to the young catcher Devin Mesoraco, who tomahawked a drive deep into the left field stands. Mesoraco has been one of the hottest hitters in the league since coming off the disabled list after the beginning of the season.
The Reds used three relievers–one per inning–to finish off their close lead at home. The Cardinals went down quietly in the seventh with Manny Parra pitching. Jonathan Broxton got through the eighth inning, and Aroldis Chapman, throwing fastballs up to 102 mph and 90 mph changeups, navigated through the ninth.
Pinch-hitter Mark Ellis singled to right with two outs in the ninth. Small sample size note of interest: Ellis is three-for-three as a pinch hitter versus Chapman. He got a triple-digit fastball out over the plate and blocked the delivery into right field.