The Cardinals are going home tonight with an unfamiliar feeling. St. Louis is looking up in the standings for the first time since July 31, 2009. They were rolling early on in the season and seemed like a lock to wrap up another division title by the All-Star break. Instead, the Cards are in a dog fight in May with the Cincinnati Reds.
Cincinnati knocked St. Louis from first place with their 7-2 win Sunday. Bronson Arroyo was the hero. He threw a complete game and drove in two runs at the plate. Scott Rolen supported Arroyo with a two-run home run and an RBI-single. Orlando Cabrera and Jonny Gomes drove in the other two runs for the Reds to give them a comfortable victory.
The cool rain was refreshing for the Cincinnati crowd. The Reds faithful cheered wildly when the scoreboard changed the standings after the final out. It is the first time Cincinnati has been in first place since June 8, 2006.
The confidence is huge for the struggling franchise that hasn’t had a winning season in nine years. The young pitching staff has been the star leading the team’s streak of seven wins in eight games. The weekend was one to remember in Cincy. With the Reds battling for first place and the Civil Rights Game, bigger crowds came out to Great American Ball Park. The Reds didn’t disappoint. The Red Machine is revving up its engine at least for a day.
Brad Penny was perfect in six career starts in Cincinnati. The righty was far from perfect today, giving up seven runs on thirteen hits in only five innings. Penny will forget about this one and shift focus to his next start.
The Cardinals are staying calm, too. The last time Cincinnati was in first, the Redbirds scratched their way to an 83-78 record and a World Series title. The Cards are keeping an even keel, just happy to be in good position despite playing so-so ball thus far. Albert Pujols and Co. know what they’re capable of and they haven’t come close yet.
St. Louis hopes to get back on track with a two-game set with the upstart Nationals.
The Reds welcome Milwaukee to town after a tough series with the Phillies. Cincinnati could be a major threat for the division all year. Bronson Arroyo knows the Cardinals will be there, too.
“The Cards have been in the playoffs,” Arroyo said. “They’re not panicking. It’s not a big deal for them. It’s a bigger deal for us.”